The Town of Lisbon’s outdoor public dining and gathering space, called Moxie Plaza, is taking shape on the lower section of Main Street in Lisbon Falls. Darcie Moore/The Times Record

LISBON — Opinions were split among businesses, residence and councilors Tuesday as the council moved forward with a plan to close lower Main Street to motor vehicles to encourage more foot traffic and outdoor dining there.

The proposal, developed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, drew more than 100 emails and messages, according to council chair Allen Ward.

They voted 4-3 to proceed with a plan to close lower Main Street as far as Union Street, provided the plan address concerns raised by businesses and neighbors impacted by the closure.

One of the issues raised was the need to create a better presentation of Moxie Plaza. Councilor Norm Albert said he believes the town has a great opportunity to advertise businesses on Main Street where it is closed off at the intersection with Route 196.

Brett Richardson, Lisbon’s economic and community development director, agreed and said the town may consider leaving that closure open so that passersby can see onto Main Street and see the tables and people enjoying themselves.

“There’s no better marketing than seeing people have a good time,” he said.


Councilor Fern Laracholle said he can’t support shutting down Main Street unless the council has the support of all the businesses affected and has addressed every concern, “and I don’t think we can do that at this point.”

Richardson said he expects to work on improving the intersection of Main and Union, address speeding in adjacent neighborhoods with the placement of speed bumps, creating a more simple and inexpensive application process for vendors, prioritize customer parking for businesses and improve signs to help people navigate the closure. He is expected to return before the council with a plan and budget for the road closure.

The council previously voted in favor of hiring a summer events coordinator for the Moxie Festival, who can also be in charge of other events around town during the summer. Though the town hasn’t decided if they will hold the annual festival this summer or what it will look like if they do, councilors said Tuesday they don’t want to wait to finalize the plan for Main Street before working to hire a summer events coordinator.

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