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April 30, 2019

Saco makes quarterfinals of America's Main Streets contest

Courtesy / City of Saco Jublilee Park, in Saco, has a covered bridge entrance, but its trails aren't accessible. City officials said if they win the America's Main Streets contest, the money would go toward accessibility at Jubilee and Diamond parks.

Saco is among 25 cities and towns from across the U.S., and three from New England, to make the quarterfinals of America's Main Streets contest, which is put on by Independent We Stand, a national association that promotes small businesses and local commerce.

The winner of the contest, which is sponsored by Stihl Equipment, gets a $25,000 grant and related prizes to help revitalize its "Main Street."

Saco city officials said the grant would go toward improvements to Diamond and Jubilee parks, both on the banks of the Saco River.

"These improvements would focus on physical accessibility for all groups, abilities and ages," a news release from the city said.

Two-acre Jubilee Park, on Water Street, has a covered bridge for access, but there are no accessible paths in the park, which is a small island. The city wants to create wide, accessible crushed stone paths with additional benches and river viewing spots, as well as program local musicians.

Diamond Park, on 10 acres off Irving Street, is an older park, and the city wants to improve its trails, add benches and remove non-native undergrowth to provide spots for viewing the river and family fishing.

The city is proposing solar lighting in both parks "to make the parks inviting for evening strolls."

The Independent We Stand organization "Inspires small business owners to discover their local roots and help consumers understand the importance of supporting them," its website says.

"Main Streets are really the heartbeat of America's cities and towns," the website says. "They play an important part in the long-term success of communities and really help build a sense of place. When Main Streets are strong, so are the communities that surround them."

This round of the contest lasts until May 26, and people can vote online once a day until then. The winner will be announced June 3.

The two other New England nominees are both from Vermont: Rutland and Montpelier.

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