LISBON — A stretch of Route 196 in Lisbon village needs a facelift, and town officials plan to make it brighter and safer for pedestrians.

Last summer, the town was awarded a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, which will allow it to rework pedestrian crossings to sync up with traffic lights, overhaul sidewalks and upgrade streetlights along Mill Street. The work centers around where Route 196 meets Village Street and extends out from there.

Many of the sidewalks along Route 196 have broken or missing brickwork, and are fractured in spots where there’s pavement. Sidewalk and curb replacements alone could cost close to $150,000.

Walter Morse and Lori Campbell opened Walt’s Place at 13 Village St. in April. The business has arcade games, pool tables, and sells refreshments. Campbell said she hopes the improvements would benefit Walt’s, and would welcome repairs to the sidewalk in front of the business.

“We have a lot that live in the area that walk instead of drive,” said Campbell. “Sidewalks by our business are very uneven and breaking apart.”

The intersection of Route 196 and Village Street is one of the first views greeting motorists coming into town from Lewiston. On average, the Maine Department of Transportation traffic counts tracked about 11,800 daily vehicles passing through.

“We hope people coming into the area will see that there’s investment in that area,” said Lisbon Economic and Community Development Director Tracey Steuber. “Maybe they’ll consider a business in Lisbon.”

Lisbon has plans laid out for a $300,000 grant to improve sidewalks in the village area. (Chris Quattrucci / The Times Record)

The town council unanimously approved seeking bids for the work at a meeting Tuesday.

“We were very fortunate we have $300,000 for our sidewalk project,” said Steuber. “What we’re going to do is take components so it gets us down to our price range of what we can do.”

Included in the initial phase are two new bus shelters along Route 196. The plan also lists 18 new poles for street lights, new traffic lights, and a detectable warning plates for crossings. The estimated cost for the first phase is $414,000, while long term plans would cost $633,250. Steuber isn’t concerned about those numbers yet.

“I asked the engineer to go all out because this puts us in a really good position when we want more money,”  she said. “When we’re about to go after another downtown grant, I’ve got everything ready to just submit it to do the next phase of that project.”

Steuber said the town’s success obtaining grants means they will have to wait until 2020 to apply for another Community Development Block Grant, but she has set her sights to facade improvements. It’s possible money may be available to help businesses, who town officials hope will benefit from these improvements.

“One of the good things about this is we’re moving forward with village street improvements,” said Town Councilor Fern Larochelle. “If (Steuber) has the money there she can encourage the businesses in that area to kind of do things at the same time to go along with the project. It would allow businesses to improve and get a good deal on it.”

Steuber pointed to the work that has been done on Main Street and in the Lisbon Falls part of town. The town completed sidewalk improvements along Union Street and Route 196 this past year. In that time, Flux restaurant filled the vacancy on Main Street and Rusty’s Lantern opened along Route 196.

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