RiverWalk Update

Good things continue to happen along the RiverWalk! Here’s a long-awaited update!

Wayfinding Signage
RiverWalk wayfinding signage has been installed in both Biddeford and Saco, based on the overall plan developed by Brad Woodworth of Woodworth Associates, in conjunction with staff from both cities.  Their purpose is to direct visitors from the RiverWalk to the downtowns, and from the downtowns to the RiverWalk. Check out the distinctive lettering and colors when you have a chance.

Housing Units Completed and Proposed

Recently, 80 additional units were approved for redevelopment in the Riverdam Mill (to be called The Lofts at Saco Falls). Here’s a Portland Press Herald article describing the project. Additionally, 19 riverfront apartments were completed at the end of June in the Pepperell Mill Campus, right on the river. They were leased by March of this year!

Saco Island
On Saco Island, the 150 apartment unit redevelopment of Building 4 is scheduled to begin work this fall, with a 2017 completion. A key piece of the project will include “closing the loop” on the RiverWalk Trail around the island. Developer Chinburg Builders has experience with river walks on other mill rehab projects, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the Saco-Biddeford RiverWalk.

Former Florida Power & Light location
The Florida Power & Light piece, now owned by Biddeford is soon to become a new city park adjacent to North Dam Mill and The Mill at Saco Falls. An RFP has been issued for Phase One engineering and design work. We’ll apprise you of progress on this scenic and important section of the RiverWalk.

Cantilevered Walkway
Recently, legislation was passed in both the Maine House and the Senate to accommodate future cantilevered structures in the vicinity of Riverdam Mill and others. This creates new possibilities for extending the RiverWalk.

Two Cities: One River Bridge Dedication Event
Most excitingly, a September 19, 2015 event is planned to raise awareness of the surging economic development activity in Saco and Biddeford, and to dedicate the pedestrian bridge as the symbol uniting the two cities. There will be something for everyone, including the RiverJam Festival in Mechanics Park, mill tours, scavenger hunts in both of the downtowns, and much more! Stay tuned for more about this as plans unfold.

Farewell to Alix
Lastly, this marks the end of Alix Hopkins’s seven years as RiverWalk Coalition Director. As she says, “I have loved working on this project. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a small part of the amazing rebirth of Biddeford and Saco, and the fine people associated with it. I’ll always pay attention to what is going on here.” Thank you, Alix, for shepherding this process!

Heart of Biddeford will coordinate future updates. Please Subscribe to the HOB newsletter if you wish to get more RiverWalk updates.

Photo credit: Tammy Ackerman

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