We're focusing on downtown.
Augusta's downtown, beautifully bisected by the mighty Kennebec River, has always been the center of life in Maine's Capital City.
As early as 1628, trading posts thrived along the river's banks. Later, Augusta's first permanent settlers operated a community store in the converted military Fort Western. With the industrial age came productive mills and factories, and busy shops along Water Street. Throughout the last century, people continued to flock to the waterfront - like their forefathers - for goods, services, and employment.
But times inevitably change, as they have in many of America's cities. The mills are gone. So, too, are some of the shops. Once proud structures lost their luster. So did the once-magnificent river. Worst of all, many people turned their backs on the heart of Maine's Capital City.
Now it's time for them to come back. Spearheaded by a progressive city government that has emphasized the importance of restoring the city's core, and by a unique state-city partnership called the Capital Riverfront Improvement District (CRID), the renaissance of Augusta's downtown has begun.
- The nationally recognized removal of the Edwards Mill Dam has returned wildlife to the river, and left the Kennebec as clean and vital as it was one hundred years ago.
- Private investment has led to redevelopment of the downtown business core through the rehabilitation and reuse of many of the downtown's landmark buildings, including Old City Hall, the historic former home of city government and now an assisted living residence for seniors.
- Corridor improvements in the city's north end have commenced, and will result in improved sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting along the downtown's main thoroughfare.
- The CRID's downtown master plan, developed by the people of Augusta and broadly supported by both state and city government, envisions a revitalized recreational waterfront, paths and parks tying together the areas features and amenities, and a major urban park on the site of the former Edwards Mill.
So what does all of this mean to you? It means that one day soon, you'll enjoy a downtown like no other. Maybe you'll land a fish in the Kennebec, or enjoy a summer concert in its banks. Maybe you'll bring the kids to the Farmer's Market, or visit one of the boutique shops downtown. Or maybe you'll just enjoy the restored views of the river from the modern comfort of your loft-style apartment. Maybe you'll cherish the rustic beauty of Maine coupled with the convenience of a contemporary downtown.
Maybe you'll come back...to downtown Augusta.