Joao Longo, left, and Tricia Clark, right, both of Lewiston, join others at a lot on Blake Street in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon to paint a textured base on several panels representing iconic Lewiston buildings. The project is part of Raise-Op Housing Cooperative and the Healthy Neighborhood Project to make the space more inviting and attractive for neighbors. Visit to watch a video of the project. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — It’s like a city within a city.

In an empty lot on Blake Street, several faux buildings have been erected, buildings made of wood and cut into familiar shapes.

One looks a lot like the basilica a few blocks away. There’s another that’s like a tiny version of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and a third appears to be a scaled-down model of City Hall.

On Thursday, a team of volunteers who live and work in the area were painting the panels a variety of colors. Soon texture will be added and before October is through, images of local pollinators — hummingbirds, moths and butterflies — will populate the buildings, as well.

The project was created by Healthy Neighborhoods, a coalition of residents and representatives from area businesses and organizations. On Thursday, Craig Saddlemire of the Raise-Op housing cooperative was overseeing the work in the otherwise empty lot.

“We hope to develop new housing here someday,” he said, “but in the meantime we want to make good use of it.”

In addition to the wooden houses, plans call for benches, a shelter and a bulletin board where locals can keep up on neighborhood news.

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