While the Avenue apartment complex has been the most talked about project coming to Park Street in the near future, other changes are afoot nearby as well that will mean a big difference to those who live in the area, as well as travelers going through it.

The Avenue complex, which will house upwards of 900 students, got final approval last month by the Orono Planning Board. Also approved at the same time was a new gas station and convenience store, which will house a Dunkin’ Donuts as well; that business will be built at 103 Park Street, on the lot where The College Store and several nightclubs had stood stood until being closed two years ago. That building will be torn down to make way for the new store.

Also coming will be a coffee shop, which this spring was approved by the board, at another vacant building across from the Rangeley Road. That coffee shop will have a drive through and seating for nearly 50 people.

The gas station/convenience store drew some concerns during discussions on the project from Orono residents, who wondered about the impact it would have on traffic in the area. When UMaine is in session, the mouth of the Rangeley Road often is a busy place, with cars streaming in and out through much of the day. The developer for that project has stated that the effect on traffic will be minimum.

But even if it is more than that, it most likely will be for the short term only. In the biggest change for the area, the Department of Transportation, following a recent trend for such projects, plans to have a roundabout constructed at the intersection of Park Street and Rangeley Road. That change, while possibly confusing to drivers at first, should in the long run alleviate any congestion caused by the new development.


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