LEWISTON — The commute through Lewiston is about to get a little more colorful.

Two banner projects are being installed on city utility poles — including one this week — as part of ongoing beautification efforts between the city and the Downtown Lewiston Association. 

The first project is already visible on Longley Memorial Bridge, where banners intended to both welcome and thank visitors as they enter and exit the city were installed this week. 

The four banner designs created for the bridge depict the Great Falls Balloon Festival, a kayaker on the river, and recognizable buildings including the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and Lewiston City Hall. 

Next, a series of holiday-themed banners will appear, a product of another collaboration between the city and the newly formed Downtown Lewiston Association. 

According to Peter Parker, a GIS mapping specialist in the city’s IT department who has worked on coordinating the project, the city received approval for both banner projects last week from the Maine Department of Transportation.

Parker said the holiday banners will go on sections of Lincoln and Main streets, and are scheduled to be installed starting Monday, Nov. 26, with installation expected to be complete by Thursday.

Michael Dostie, the chairman of the Downtown Lewiston Association and the owner of J. Dostie Jewelers on Lisbon Street, said Wednesday that small beautification efforts are an important part of what many downtown organizations do, and can often be overlooked. 

“We wanted to take that a step further,” he said. “We want to push for further economic development in the downtown commercial district.” 

He said beautification projects send a message to potential businesses or developers that the city is actively engaged, and is investing in its downtown. 

The downtown association and the city recently collaborated on a new welcome sign at another city gateway on Lisbon Street. 

Denis D’Auteuil, deputy city administrator, said the bridge banner idea came together this past summer, when a few design concepts were presented to the City Council. He said he considers the banners a success.

“It’s really important we highlight what we have in Lewiston,” he said. “Our gateways are critical points to engage visitors and we’d like to expand on that.”

He said it falls in line with the city’s efforts to install way-finding signs, and that efforts will continue at other city gateways. 

Dostie said that as members of a new organization, they also felt it was important to have a few visible projects for the community, as they attempt to work behind the scenes with city officials on other economic development projects. 

Eventually, he said, the downtown association would like to have a series of banners for each season and work with the city to establish a more robust holiday lighting program downtown. 

Dostie said the holiday banners might not have come to fruition this year if it weren’t for two local businesses stepping up. Maple Way Dental and DaVinci’s Eatery provided funding for the first round of banners.

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New “Downtown Lewiston” holiday banners will be installed soon as part of a downtown beautification effort that includes projects from the city and the Downtown Lewiston Association. (Submitted image) 

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