WATERVILLE — The Waterville Community Land Trust has come a long way since 2012, when it was merely an idea to invigorate city neighborhoods and offer affordable homes to people with low to moderate incomes.

The nonprofit land trust was formed and received tax-exempt status in 2014.

It bought and completely renovated a home in the city’s South End, which is now for sale, and purchased more property at 226 and 232 Water St. and razed two dilapidated buildings there, opening access to the Kennebec River.

The land trust also recently hired its first part-time development and communications assistant.

Interested buyers have looked at the renovated house at 181 Water St., but no one has made an offer, according to Ashley Pullen, the land trust’s president. However, the selling price recently was reduced from $67,500 to $54,800, she is confident a sale will happen and the land trust will grow quickly.

“I do think it’s just a matter of the first buyer falling into place and then the word will spread,” Pullen said Monday. “Our work is just so well-poised to progress in tandem with the downtown work that’s being done. It already is an inviting place to live and work and play, but I think it’s just going to be even more so as time goes on and our model of land trust becomes more familiar in the community.”

Nancy Williams, the land trust’s vice president of outreach and development, brought the idea of a land trust to Waterville when she moved here from New York a few years ago. The land trust seeks to help stabilize neighborhoods through its property acquisition mission.

Run by an all-volunteer board of directors, the trust is able to maintain home affordability be retaining ownership of the land on which the homes are situated. Homeowners may sell the homes later if they wish, but the trust maintains ownership of the land and a substantial share of any profit on the sale of the home.

While the land trust will work citywide, officials decided to focus first on the historic South End, which once was a hub of activity and home to many Franco-Americans who moved to the city from Canada to work in the mills. The South End Neighborhood Association has been working several years to help revitalize the South End. Its president, Jackie Dupont, is a city councilor representing the South End as well as a member of the land trust board.

City Planner Ann Beverage, a member of the trust board, said Monday that the open land on the Kennebec River will become a public park with trails. The trust also hopes to build an affordable home on part of the land in keeping with the architectural style of the neighborhood, according to Pullen.

The land trust survives on grants and donations. It bought the house at 181 Water St. with money given by an anonymous donor through the Maine Community Foundation.

Williams noted that Kennebec Messalonskee Trails and the city are developing trails and walkways that will connect the South End to downtown and the confluence of the Kennebec River and Messalonskee Stream.

“It will be a great place to live,” she said. “It is now, but it will become an even more desirable neighborhood.”

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Comments are not available on this story.