It’s no misconception that Biddeford is on the move as a city and dreams can be reality!

Let’s look at the scorecard: the last four years, the mayor and City Council have been engaged in progress in all aspects of city life, including the Biddeford High School renovation project, downtown/mill master plan, Riverwalk Project (already launched), Diamond Match Park (in the works), Williams Court Park and de-privatizing the waste water plant, which has been a great success. Heart of Biddeford is moving forward with cultural development downtown, and the Downtown Development Commission is improving our Main Street, working on parking garages to improve mill development for new local business.

The Biddeford Housing Authority is engaged in several projects, the disorderly house ordinance has passed, graffiti and dangerous dog ordinances are moving to improve public ways.

The city hired a city developer to work with the city manager, who has been actively soliciting new business migration to Biddeford, infrastructure improvements with road and CSO projects through the city engineering and planning office, supporting social services and the new Open Space Committee which has been successful.

The city codes office’s improvement is outstanding, fire and police departments have worked hard with the present city officials to bring the best service to our community within our budget, shoreland zoning protecting vital habitats, the racino project for jobs, and the list goes on! Give credit where credit is due!

We have been on target with Joanne Twomey!

This city is running on all cylinders, and “this mayor and council” that I keep hearing negative things about have been absolutely doing their job for the people of Biddeford.

The rising excitement of the city prospects and development in this economic climate is awesome!

Let’s move forward and finish the jobs well started.

David Bourque

City Council

Biddeford

Anyone who has spent time in downtown Biddeford has most likely seen Chris Betjemann, candidate for at-large seat on the Biddeford City Council, hard at work on one of the many renovation projects he has undertaken along Main Street.

Chris arrived in Biddeford 10 years ago at a time when few other people were interested in improving downtown properties.

Since then, he has transformed several run-down buildings into some of the most attractive locations on Main Street.

It’s not only Chris’ proven ability to get things done that would make him an excellent councilor, in my opinion, but also his vision for a better city and commitment to achieving it.

In addition, Chris has a dynamic enthusiasm for Biddeford that has helped encourage many other people, including myself, to join in the effort to renew buildings and build community.

Chris has also been consistently generous in donating the use of his properties for public events that benefit the entire city. Biddeford is a better place for the work Chris has done and it will be better still if he is elected to the City Council.

Seth Harkness

President of Biddeford Landlords Association and owner of four rental properties in downtown Biddeford

Portland

Cumberland County Civic Center bond a bad idea

Rarely, if ever, have I agreed with anything coming from Steven Scharf, but today that changed. There wasn’t a word in his Oct. 25 Maine Voices column regarding the renovation of the civic center with which I disagree.

Floating a $33 million loan to renovate that dilapidated eyesore is simply obscene. If it were possible, throwing a big black blanket over it and forgetting it was there would make more sense.

Why is the government in the business of owning and operating entertainment venues in the first place? Sell the building to a private investor and allow the building to be either torn down and replaced or renovated without restriction. There is “real” money out there that is anxious to make more “real” money because private investors know how to do it.

I wish the people of Portland would try to remember that this city can grow dynamically and retain its history at the same time. Two of my favorite cities, other than Portland, are Boston and London. Both are drenched in history and neither has stymied itself out of the 21st century.

With the civic center we have another Maine State Pier on our hands and that fiasco exemplifies how much the lumps of mud in City Hall can get done and at what cost!

Bruce Erwin Johnson

Portland

The Harrison Board of Selectmen at their October meeting voted unanimously to oppose the civic center bond issue.

While one could suspect the board’s issue with the bond is Harrison’s distance from the civic center, let us assure you that this is but a minor issue.

The board views the issue as one directly related to the problem with the civic center when it was built 34 years ago.

The location for the facility was a poor choice to begin with. The location is not easily accessible from a county-wide perspective, the footprint was insufficient in size, limiting layout and design, and parking is insufficient for such a facility.

The concept of spending $33 million on what was an $8 million structure 34 years ago does nothing more than apply a Band-aid approach to what was an erroneous decision to begin with. Simply put, the facility upon completion of the renovations will remain a poorly located facility, difficult to access from outside of Portland and with no improvements in parking.

As we look ahead, the project becomes less inviting as one has to ask how much money will need to be spent in the future, short and long term, to continue to meet the deficiencies in the current proposal.

The board believes if the trustees are so desirous to have the civic center remain at its current location, they should consider negotiating a deal with the city of Portland and any other communities happy with the current location, relieving the county of the financial obligation.

The desire for a county civic center should be fulfilled with the building of a structure in an easily accessible location with sufficient parking and of size and shape to meet the growing needs of the area.

With the current civic center, we are in a hole that is too deep, so it is time to stop digging and come up with a better plan.

George “Bud” Finch,

Town manager, for the Harrison Board of Selectmen

Harrison