LEWISTON — Councilors are fine with spending more on this summer’s Lisbon Street renovation project to make the area nicer.

“Lisbon Street is really the core of our downtown,” Councilor Kristen Cloutier said. “It’s where our small businesses are, and I think we are probably going to have to spend a little money to make a little in terms of economic development. I think it’s really important for us to support beautification of that street.”

Councilors reviewed the plans to repave sections of Lisbon Street between Chestnut and Main streets. The project is being funded mostly by the Maine Department of Transportation. Lewiston is expected to pay about 10 percent of the $1.8 million cost, or about $180,000.

That money will pay for milling and resurfacing the asphalt road surface and replacing the sidewalks.

City Engineer Rick Burnham said the sidewalks will stay the same width, on-street parking spaces will remain and granite curbs will be left in place or replaced if they are damaged.

The plan calls for replacing the sidewalk pavers with gray and tan colored concrete. Turning lanes at the Chestnut and Pine street intersections will go away and a 5-foot bike lane will be added for the length of the street.

The original $1.8 million will pay for all that work, Burnham said.

The city will have to pay for additional work, including rewiring all of the street lights and putting up more attractive fences along vacant lots on the west side of the street between Ash and Pine streets. Those lots were home to buildings that burned in a 2004 fire.

The city also plans to replace the stairway-plaza connecting Lisbon and Park streets behind the Mother India restaurant and install several bike racks in that area. Those projects would add another $170,000 to the city’s costs.

Downtown business owners requested another $65,000 worth of projects — accent lights built into the sidewalks around crosswalks, more trees in the area and removable landscape planters for Dufresne Plaza.

“We spent a lot of time trying to come up with ideas so it doesn’t just look like hardscape,” City Administrator Ed Barrett said. “That includes adding the trees and a couple of additional planting areas.”

Barrett said the staff had toyed with other ideas, including carving famous quotes into the concrete sidewalks next to the library.

“This is a chance to do something that’s a little bit different,” Barrett said. “A lot of the ideas either won’t work or are too expensive. But if we can do a few things to beautify the area, that’s something we’d like to do.”

If councilors approve, the city will use money allocated for Walnut Street to pay for the Lisbon Street additions. Barrett said he expects councilors will vote on the project at their next regular meeting.

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