LEWISTON — Joshua Nagine supports work that gets people outside, healthy and involved in their community.

For more than 15 years, he’s been compiling a long list of involvement in Lewiston, from his work to establish the city’s first skatepark, to his current roles advocating for the city’s trail system and farmers’ market.

It’s work that is often overlooked in a Lewiston community that’s not particularly known for its outdoor recreation, but Nagine has several ideas on how to change that.

L/A Trails volunteer Josh Nagine lives within walking distance to the Androscoggin Riverside Trail in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Nagine, 45, serves on the board of the Androscoggin Land Trust, which recently decided to separate the oversight of L/A Trails. That effort will now be led by Nagine, who is in the process of getting L/A Trails its own nonprofit designation.

Nagine said he’d like to improve the city’s existing trails as well as make connections to others.

“Everyone always acknowledges that trails are great, but no one wants to pay for them,” he said. He’s hoping he can pull together more volunteers to help L/A Trails, which can work more directly with the cities.

On the greenway trail, which runs above the riverwalk, Nagine said he’d like to establish scenic overlooks. He’d also like to see trash receptacles at certain locations.

He looks to a Barker Mill connector trail in Auburn as a prime example of work that can be done in Lewiston.

The trail is maintained by a volunteer and the Androscoggin Land Trust, but Nagine considers it an example for Lewiston because it connects existing trails and also serves as a connector between downtown neighborhoods.

“Those are the types of things I’m interested in, to create more trails and more access to the trails we have,” he said. “That’s going to be my primary focus for quite awhile.”

Nagine lives in the Sunnyside neighborhood between Central Maine Medical Center and the Androscoggin River. He’s within walking distance to the Riverside Trail, which runs from Sunnyside Park to Tall Pines Drive, among his favorite locations in the city.

Nagine is also in charge of promotion, outreach and development for the Lewiston Farmers’ Market. He works to make sure local farmers can sell directly to the public, and creating a sense of community in downtown spaces. The market runs every Sunday in the parking lot at Bates Mill No. 5.

Soon, the market is teaming up with the Downtown Lewiston Association to plant rows of flowers on downtown Lisbon Street. He said in the past, businesses would “adopt a spot” to beautify a section of Lisbon Street. But, with COVID-19, he said the downtown association paid for the flowers, and volunteers will install them.

That’s not all. Nagine also serves on Lewiston’s ad-hoc Recycling Committee, which is developing a report on how the city can boost its historically-low recycling rates, which he admits are likely worsening due to COVID-19 and down recycling markets.

He said the committee is hoping it can extend the timeline of the committee by a year because most of the community outreach planned had to be scrapped due to the pandemic.

The committee is hoping to focus on how much waste is produced per household, and cutting down on waste, rather than the specific recycling rates. But, he said, they’re hopeful that a program that can engage a few “neighborhood champions” in the city can lead to more buy-in from residents.

Mayor Mark Cayer said he’s had recent discussions with Nagine regarding Lewiston’s trail system, farmers’ market and its homeless population.

“Joshua has a long history of service to our community in these areas and more,” Cayer said. “I find him to be an engaged citizen, and although he holds elected officials accountable, he also strives to be a part of the solution. We need more engaged community members like him.”

During the day, Nagine works for Auto Europe, a car rental agency that he’s able to work remotely for, thus eliminating any commute time. He said that frees up time for him to focus on trail work or other volunteer roles.

If he looks familiar, it could be because he also doesn’t shy away from speaking up about local issues, or showing up to City Council or Planning Board meetings.

He was among neighbors who spoke out against the forthcoming housing complex on Avon Street at the former Pineland Lumber property.

He said he didn’t agree with the city’s use of a large tax-increment financing agreement with the developer, but recognized the city’s support for a needed waterline spanning the Androscoggin, as well as proposed upgrades to the adjacent trail.

He also took part in last week’s Black Lives Matter protests in Lewiston.

Roughly 15 years ago, Nagine was part of the effort to get the skatepark installed at Kennedy Park, now considered a huge draw in the park. In 2009, skateboard legend Tony Hawk showed up.

“After that I kind of took a hiatus for about 10 years, but now I’m getting back into being involved in the community and really pushing forward some of these initiatives that benefit everybody,” he said.

Know someone with a deep well of unlimited public spirit? Someone who gives of their time to make their community a better place? Then nominate them for Kudos. Send their name and the place where they do their good deeds to reporter Andrew Rice at [email protected] and we’ll do the rest.

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