Lewiston City Council

Tuesday, Jan. 22

Lewiston continues Choice Neighborhoods grant process

What happened: The City Council received an update on the city’s $1.3 million Choice Neighborhoods planning and implementation grant, which is focused on revitalizing the Tree Streets neighborhood.

What it means: The grant, designed to deliver lasting change to a distressed neighborhood, is in the planning stages and involves a number of local stakeholders.

Lewiston was among three cities to be awarded the grant last year by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Tree Streets neighborhood in Lewiston has a median income of $16,000, with roughly 60 percent of families living  in poverty.

Misty Parker, Lewiston economic development specialist, said Tuesday that the city is about halfway through the process. So far, a number of public events and pop-up forums have been held to hear what residents want to see. She said 880 neighbors took part, with 400 attending workshops.

The project is designed to revitalize an existing public housing property — in this case Maple Knoll — while implementing strategies to boost employment opportunities, income, health and education.

What’s next: Parker said public meetings on proposed strategies will take place in late February. They hope to have the transformation plan completed by spring, and to begin work in the summer. She said $1 million of the grant will go toward “instant change” projects in the neighborhood.

City honors Italian Bakery

What happened: The City Council honored longtime Lewiston business The Italian Bakery on Tuesday, handing a mayoral proclamation to former owner Lisa Chiaravelotti Chouinard.

What it means: Late last year, Chouinard announced she was selling the business after it had been run by her family for 60 years. She worked there 40 years, the first 30 for her father and the past 10 as owner.

On Tuesday, Mayor Shane Bouchard called the proclamation “a commendation for excellence in small business and commitment to Lewiston.”

“Thank you for the resilience in this city and for all those breakfasts I probably shouldn’t have had,” he said.

What’s next: The business was sold to Brandon LeClair, also a longtime baker who grew up frequenting the Italian Bakery. The changeover took place Jan. 1. Many of the bakery’s longtime and current employees were in attendance Tuesday.

Portland Pie project gets extension

What happened: The City Council, in a 6-1 vote, supported giving another extension to the developers behind a planned Portland Pie Co. at the former Lincoln Street fire station.

What it means: Developers will now have until June 28 to get financing in order, as the federal government shutdown has caused delays for a key piece of historic tax credit funding for the building renovation.

Lincoln Jeffers, director of Economic and Community Development, said Tuesday that “everything is in place” except the historic tax credits, which are handled by the National Park Service. He said the June date is designed to give plenty of time given the uncertainty behind the shutdown and a probable backlog of projects awaiting tax credits.

What’s next: Jeffers said Portland Pie Co. has been in on the development talks and is aware of the delays caused by the government shutdown, and the company “is still there and still exited.”

Barrett gets another year

What happened: The City Council unanimously approved a contract extension for longtime City Administrator Ed Barrett.

What it means: The new contract will bring Barrett through his 10th year with the city, running until June 2020. Prior to being hired in Lewiston, Barrett was the city administrator in Bangor for nearly 22 years. As of his extension in 2017, Barrett’s salary was $127,455.