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Updated: August 23, 2023

Madawaska’s midtown revitalization project gets $2M federal boost

aerial chart with color overlays Courtesy / Woodard & Curran A preliminary draft of the engineer’s site plan shows plaza development for a farmer’s market and maker space, parking, Fish River Rural Health, Main Street traffic calming, a multi-use trail and other projects in the works for the new development.

The town of Madawaska has received a $2.1 million funding boost for its midtown revitalization project, which is expected to spur local business growth and job creation.

The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will help renovate the Midtown Shopping Plaza, paying for public infrastructure needed to make the site and surrounding properties suitable for redevelopment.

“This project has been a few years in the making and would not be possible without the financial assistance of the Economic Development Administration,” said Town Manager Gary Picard.

The Midtown Shopping Plaza revitalization and development encompasses a shared parking area, public library, farmers market and surrounding buildings. The plan also calls for expanding a downtown recreational trail for multi-use access.

The work at the 363 East Main St. site includes upgrades to sewer and water infrastructure, reconstruction of the Main Street and 7th Avenue entrances into the plaza, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks, traffic calming measures that include a vehicle reverse direction traffic pattern, and parking lot reconstruction.

Other improvements include the renovation of a vacant building to create an entrepreneurial maker space, expansion of the farmers market to include public bathrooms, a designated location for food trucks, EV charging stations and pad-site preparation for a drive-thru banking kiosk.

Picard said the investment by the EDA will be transformational to Madawaska’s downtown, and are necessary for the development of a new, 30,000-square-foot site for Fish River Rural Health. The site will offer a wide range of health care services including family medicine, behavioral health, dental care, optometry, chiropractic, nutrition and wellness services.

Ultimately, the goal of the midtown project is to re-anchor the vacant retail plaza as a new and modern hub for business in the downtown.

The overall project has been a work-in-progress with the prior removal and remediation of dilapidated retail buildings, and site restoration made possible by grants from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program and the Northern Border Regional Commission.

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