Background- New Auburn has been the subject of numerous planning efforts over the last 7-8 years. The 2010 Comprehensive Plan devoted an entire section to a “New Auburn Master Plan”, which included many recommendations for land use, zoning and a redevelopment concept for the lower portion of New Auburn between Mill and Broad Streets.
Between 2012 and 2014, T Y LIN Consultants were hired to evaluate the transportation network around the New Auburn “Center” and come up with recommendations for a new street layout and redevelopment plan. A citizen committee was established that worked with city planning staff and consultants and developed the “New Auburn Village Center Plan” that included a greenway trail along the Little and Big Androscoggin Rivers, a new Riverway Street and compact village center. The Village Center Plan Committee reached a consensus on the plan which was adopted by the City Council in August of 2014.
The 2014 New Auburn Village Center Master Plan included a Greenway trail, Riverway Road and Village Center redevelopment area, but was a concept, not an actual plan that could be used for construction purposes. In 2015, the City Council allocated funding to hire consultants to finalize the New Auburn Village Center design and develop construction drawings and cost estimates to make the plan a reality. VHB and Coplon Associates were selected to do this work and went under contract in December of 2015.
New Auburn Village Center Final Plan- The first public meeting for the NAV C final plan was held on January 7, 2016 at the Boys and Girls Club in New Auburn. Based on feedback from the public, a Greenway and Riverway plan was developed. As the Planning Staff and Consultants refined the final plans, a strategy was proposed to redevelop the area in phases to allow the overall project to be built as finances became available. The second public meeting was held on May 19, 2016 in the Saint Louis Church. The presentation included the 4 phases that could be built over the course of 20 years. The Consultants and Staff continued to work through the summer on plan details and meeting with property owners. A final design meeting was held on October 26, 2016 at Walton Elementary School to get final ideas and comments.
Project Funding- In June of 2016, a grant opportunity with the Northern Borders Regional Commission was successfully applied for resulting in $352,372 being available for Phase 1 of the project. Another grant, a Transportation Alternatives grant was applied for to grade and construct the greenway trail and grade the Riverway Road area. If this grant is successful, a total of $498,350 would be available for constructing the main trail and grading the Riverway Road in Phase 2.