The neighborhood around Washington and Atlantic avenues in Old Orchard Beach now has a new name, Washington Square, as a result of votes cast by people in the community earlier this year. Tammy Wells Photo

OLD ORCHARD BEACH — The neighborhood around Washington and Atlantic avenues in Old Orchard Beach now has a new name, thanks to people who took part in a fun, informal vote hosted by the OOB Community Friendly Connection.

“Washington Square” was the hands-down favorite, taking a solid majority of 62 votes out of 109 cast during a Name Your Neighborhood drive earlier this year.

Cathy Chiasson, Holly Corda, Don Hill, Helene Whittaker and Pat Brown, all of the Old Orchard Beach Community Friendly Connection read the vote tally and announced the new name of the district around Washington Avenue: Washington Square, which received 64 of the 109 votes cast. Tammy Wells Photo

The announcement was made Thursday, Dec. 12 in council chambers at Old Orchard Beach Town Hall.

Naming the neighborhood around the Atlantic Courts has long been part of the quest to revitalize the area.

The group hosted a block party in the Washington Avenue district in June that was attended by nearly 250 people and took suggestions, and then put the matter to a vote, with “polling stations” at various Old Orchard Beach locations.

As to the revitalization, the group has held a number of neighborhood meetings to get residents thoughts. There was a sidewalk and crosswalk painting project to help brighten the neighborhood.

Part of the revitalization effort includes perking up Atlantic Courts Park, an idea sparked by member Don Hill. Members told the Journal Tribune in July they would like to see other features in the park to compliment the basketball court, and envision sitting areas, a possible play area and some outdoor exercise stations.

The group was awarded $10,000 by AARP in July toward the Atlantic Courts, Washington Avenue effort.

A storefront in an area recently been named the Washington Square neighborhood in Old Orchard Beach takes on a glow just as the sun was setting on a recent Thursday. The name of the district was announced last week by the OOB Community Friendly Connection group, which conducted a vote on the subject. Tammy Wells Photo

Assistant Town Manager and OOB Community Friendly Connection Chairwoman V. Louise Reid told the Journal that in the late 1950s, there was a drugstore, meat market, appliance store and a “five and dime” store in the Washington Street neighborhood.

“I remember this neighborhood being the center of Old Orchard,” said Reid.

These days, there’s a corner market, a laundromat, a couple of other shops, and on Thursday, Dec. 12 a construction crew was busy renovating what is soon to be a new restaurant in the neighborhood.

Those out for a stroll or walking their dog nodded or said “hello” as others passed by.

Votes from the other entries included seven for Atlantic Courtyard, 13 for Washington Junction and 24 favored Friendship Square. There were three write-in suggestions.

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