As this community has been my home for 80+ years, and I have children and grandchildren living here, I offer my opinion on the proposed merger.

Historically, mergers make financial sense and come in waves. Banks, hospitals, insurance agencies and other industries all realize at some point in time that economy of scale accomplishes successful operations. Case in point, back in the 1980s, Peoples Savings Bank entered into a merger with Portland Savings Bank amid cries of its losing it identity. Today, that bank is TD Bank, which has created hundreds of jobs in a Lewiston mill that had been vacant. It took courage and faith in the merger model.

The Androscoggin River and the falls do not divide residents, they unite them. A report of consultants engaged by Bates College as part of “LA Excels” indicated development of the river and falls and other meaningful projects are blocked by officials of the two cities’ governments who are rightfully sworn to protect their domain.

This is one community. It is always easier to maintain the status quo. Many unfounded rumors are unnerving and even scary, but I fervently hope for the future benefit of my family that people of the two communities will have the courage and wisdom to take the huge step to legally connect them.

I look forward to future elected leaders from both sides of the river to shake hands and start moving Auburn and Lewiston into a bright future.

Malcolm Philbrook Jr., Auburn

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