As citizens of Lewiston decide whether to support the so-called “people’s veto” petition regarding rebuilding the 29 units lost to fire, it may to helpful to get some of the facts straight.

I am the development consultant working to help rebuild the lost units. Many of the letters against the rebuilding suggest that the project will be all large, four-bedroom units that will bring hundreds of new children into the Lewiston schools.

While the new buildings have yet to be designed, we anticipate no more than four or five of those larger units.

Several writers have suggested that all of the families who lost their homes in the fires have been successfully resettled. In fact, the reason that we will be rebuilding several four-bedroom units is that there are a number of larger families who have not been able to find suitable housing. Some have had to split up and live in separate units and are awaiting the rebuilding to get back together. Others are in very poor quality units.

More than half of the families who were burned out still check back in on a regular basis, eager to move back in with St. Laurent Housing.

So the majority of those who will be moving in when the property is rebuilt are not new additions to the city — they are existing residents.


In designing the reconstruction, we plan to have an open public process to be sure that the new building meets the needs of the neighborhood and is a positive example of what can be done in the downtown with reduced density.

The rebuilt property will be an asset to the neighborhood, and include a new community space that can be used for neighborhood gatherings.

The most significant impact of the rebuild will be to increase property values in the area and to help stabilize the downtown tax base. The city of Lewiston is participating in the project by providing additional land — lots leftover from the fire that have little value beyond this project.

The Lewiston City Council voted to support this investment in the downtown and I trust that the majority of residents will support the council’s decision.

Jim Hatch, Bristol

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