Earlier this year Waterville Creates! was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town program to undertake, in partnership with the City of Waterville, Colby College, and other partners, a community re-design process for Downtown Waterville’s central greenspace, Castonguay Square.
Community members are invited to participate in this public design workshops scheduled for Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 at the Chase Community Forum in the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons – the meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. Refreshments will be provided. All are welcome to attend, there is no charge to participate. This series of community design workshops are designed to understand how the park is currently being utilized and determine the community’s collective vision for its future.
Community Charrette #2: How should the Square be designed?
November 14, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Chace Community Forum, Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons
Charrette #2 will be an interactive sketching and visioning workshop that synthesizes the principles and ideas from the first charrette. Overlaying vision ideas onto the physical scale and existing design of the Square, the BBB team will facilitate the session to allow participants to draw concepts directly on maps and see their ideas reflected in potential designs. The goal of this charrette will be to generate up to three potential options for the redesign of the Square. We will discuss the existing features of the space to consider what should be protected, what can be relocated, and what can be redesigned or removed. Of concern are specimen trees as well as monuments and memorials.
Castonguay Square is a lovely greenspace located in the heart of our historic downtown district, but its current design is not particularly inviting. In this time of unprecedented investment in the downtown, this project will give the community an exciting opportunity to help create a dynamic, welcoming space right in the center of it all. The process will also build community capacity for future projects and help to restore a sense of pride and civic engagement.
The project kicked off in September 2018 with a site visit by architects from Beyer Blinder Belle of New York and Mitchell & Associates of Portland. After a walking tour of Castonguay Square and the RiverWalk, the architects met with stakeholder groups that included downtown business and property owners, City employees, and representatives from organizations that currently use the Square for events and activities. For the next phase of the project, Waterville Creates!, in partnership with the city and Colby College, will host a series of community design workshops that are open to the public and designed to understand how the park is currently being utilized and determine the community’s collective vision for its future.
After the first two workshops, the architects will begin developing preliminary design concepts which they will present to the communityfor feedback at a final workshop in January 2019. The goal will be to have a final concept for presentation to City Council in February 2019.
In the creative placemaking process, public, private, not-for-profit, and community sectors partner to strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired. Key elements of this process are inclusivity, intention, and relationship building with all community stakeholders.
The NEA announced 60 awards totaling $4.1 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. “The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Waterville Creates! in Waterville, Maine, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.” Waterville Creates!’s $75,000 award was the largest non-governmental Our Town grant awarded in the state of Maine.
Image courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle