AUBURN — Auburn Public Works was awarded the first official accreditation in the state by the American Public Works Association at Monday night’s City Council meeting. 

Gary Losier, American Public Works Association’s Region I director, drove to Auburn from New Brunswick, Canada to present the award. 

Losier said he hopes the city can “recognize that your public works staff has done amazing here.”

Auburn first applied for accreditation in 2013, and has been working on continuous improvement, policies, and practices toward becoming accredited. 

“Standards your community developed are being used as examples for other communities now,” Losier said. “The entire staff put a lot of effort into it.” 

Auburn is the first city in Maine to receive the accreditation. 

The council also voted 6-1 to move forward with plans to discontinue a section of Troy Street and sell the land to the Szanton Company. 

According to city documents, a 53-unit apartment project proposed by the Szanton Company on a vacant city lot is moving toward final approval from the Planning Board on Tuesday.

The development is planned for partially affordable housing and partially fair market housing, according to Szanton. 

Part of the project’s site development has included the discontinuance of a section of Troy Street between Hampshire Street and Library Avenue. 

The council will have a final vote on discontinuance at its next meeting.

The main concern brought up by councilors and the public at Monday’s meeting is how this would impact Auburn Public Library’s parking. 

The lot being considered is the library’s secondary parking lot, and according to Doug Green, Auburn’s urban development coordinator, this would eliminate 50 to 70 parking spots. 

“It’s clear that parking for the library will be impacted by this project,” Green said. “But there are options to get new parking. There are good signs that we should be able to replace the spaces lost.” 

“I think it’s important to continue to move forward with this project,” Councilor Holly Lasagna said. “Parking and continued access to the library would continue to be part of the discussion.” 

Resident Renee Simonitis said she is also concerned because that parking lot also serves as winter relief parking for people who live nearby. 

Councilor Belinda Gerry said she wasn’t comfortable voting for it when she couldn’t give concrete parking alternatives to her constituents.

“I know this type of project is needed and know we need to improve the area, but I don’t feel comfortable without hearing from the public,” she said. 

In other news, the council approved no-interest loan to the Lewiston Auburn Transit Committee, not to exceed $150,000, from the city’s General Fund. 

The council also voted unanimously to approve a liquor license for Michael Violette’s Upper Level Bar and Grill, the new vendor at Norway Savings Bank Arena. 

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