Bridgton is in line to get $11.5 million in federal aid for infrastructure improvements if voters approve local matches at the polls in November.

The town said it will receive $11 million from two federal agencies to help pay for a replacement of its wastewater system and $500,000 from the Maine Department of Transportation for improvements to Main Street. The grants, however, are contingent on voters approving three referendum questions to cover the local share of the costs on Election Day, Nov. 6.

The federal grants will cover about 48 percent of the cost of upgrading the town’s wastewater system, officials said.

Town officials said the wastewater system’s lack of capacity has hampered development in recent years, with retailers, restaurants and other businesses interested in locating in Bridgton being turned away because the sewage system can’t handle more wastewater.

“We’ve known for some time that the wastewater system is in critical need of replacement and we are very relieved to get this large grant,” said Bob Peabody, Bridgton’s town manager. He said tests indicate that wastewater is getting into Stevens Brook, and the state Department of Environmental Protection has told Bridgton it is at risk of being cited for license violations if the problems continue.

The replacement is expected to cost nearly $23 million and work could begin as soon as next spring if voters approve their share of the cost, said Georgiann M. Fleck, the deputy town manager.


The owner of an assisted-living company said plans to expand to Bridgton are on hold until the wastewater issue is addressed,

“We have plans to develop a senior living campus in Bridgton, but we cannot move forward unless the wastewater system is improved,” said Lon Walters, owner of Woodlands Senior Living. The Waterville-based company said a new center in Bridgton would serve 136 residents and provide as many as 80 new jobs.

Two of the measures on the November ballot are aimed at improving Main Street. They would address drainage problems, upgrade lighting, add traffic calming measures and restore crumbling sidewalks.

Town officials said if all three questions pass, it would add about $98 in taxes on a home valued at $150,000, an increase of about 5 percent on the current tax rate.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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