On Thursday, May 22 at 2 p.m. in the Colonial Marketplace Plaza on Route 25 in Standish, the Standish Economic Development Advisory Group (SEDAG) will announce their support for referendum question 1 which includes the Standish Village Center sidewalk project. SEDAG consists of Standish businesses which are part of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. Their vision is to connect the corners of Standish and the people of the community. The SEDAG group will place small blue marker flags designating the route of the proposed sidewalk along Routes 25 and 35.
The sidewalk project consists of 1.3 miles of sidewalks and other transportation improvements through the village center and the Routes 25 and 35 intersection to connect businesses, historic sites, elderly housing, residential neighborhoods, schools and the village recreational complex. It will encourage a stop and shop behavior and the emergence of an 18-hour economy for local businesses and residents, laying groundwork for Standish’s Quality of Place goals.
Based on a Maine Department of Transportation Safe-Routes-to-School grant, this sidewalk project will leverage federal funding of $418,400 with a local match of $104,600. This amounts to less than one cent on the mil rate over ten years. The SEDAG group is coining this project the “$1.50 Sidewalk” as that is the cost a household* will bear over the course of 10 years (based on a home value of $150,000 per year).
Because of a lack of sidewalks, 100 percent of the students at the George E. Jack school are bussed to school. This grant will start a connection of sidewalks that will allow residents and students to walk or bike to school for recreational activities and other events. It will also mitigate some of the steep drainage ditches and lack of shoulders along the road at the school. Standish entered into a $39,000 engineering design contract with Wright Pierce for the design of the sidewalks. Standish has already paid $7,800 or 20 percent of this cost for the engineering design but if referendum question 1 is not approved during the June 10th town elections, then the town will be obliged to repay ($31,200) to Maine DOT for their 80 percent share of the completed engineering work.
Currently the Oak Hill Road intersection relocation project has begun and once completed will improve the hazards near the Route 25 and Route 35 intersection which has been determined to be a high crash location and a level of service “F” by Maine DOT. These proposed sidewalks would link to the sidewalks on Route 25 being added during the intersection reconstruction project. All the sidewalks will increase neighborhood interconnectivity with a pedestrian, bicycle connection between the upper and lower village center areas, reducing the focus on the automobile as the only mode of transportation the Standish village center.