Brian Shaw operates a crane at the Westbrook Common last week, removing most of the park’s structures. Chance Viles / American Journal

Demolition at the underused Westbrook Common began last week as the city’s $1.2 million renovation project gets underway.

The fountain in the center of the small downtown public area was removed as part of the project, which includes the replacement and upgrade of  the utility infrastructure beneath the park, construction of a performance stage space and a new sidewalk to host food trucks.

A jackhammer does its work amid the rubble of a fountain and bench at the Westbrook Common. Chance Viles / American Journal

The project is on schedule to be mostly finished this summer, according to City Project Manager Robyn Saunders. Work will pause in February and then the rebuilding will begin.

“When Shaw Earthworks returns in March, they will be on-site for the rest of the spring and summer til this project is substantially complete,” she said.

Some finishing touches may extend into 2023, she said.


Brian Shaw of Shaw Earthworks has been working at the Common, hammering out pieces of concrete and beginning to set up for the utility upgrades. Some of the utilities below the common are decades old, with infrastructure that is over 100 years old.

“There are some really old things down here, so I will be on-site during the duration of the project to keep a close eye,” Shaw said last week.

With the layers of older infrastructure, the project is resembling a surgery, he said.

It’s going to be kind of a surgical process as we kind of go down layer by layer, sort out what goes where and take care of things in their respective ways,” Shaw said. “It’s going well, so far no surprises so we are kind of methodically taking our time.”

The revamp of Westbrook Common has been discussed since 2002.

“I think this will be really good for the businesses and be more of a place for people to spend time,” Shaw said.


The Common has been previously described by both city officials and residents as dismal. It was often empty, even in good weather,  despite being in the center of downtown.

Economic Development Director Dan Stevenson said the revamp is the city’s signature project.

“We are taking a focal point in our downtown that is in dire need of complete reconstruction and putting a beautification piece in public space for the next generation,” Stevenson said.

Northeast Credit Union has pledged $25,000 to go toward entertainment at the new Common.

No taxpayer money is slated to be used for the Westbrook Common revamp. Among the funding is $400,000 from the Westbrook Environmental Improvement Corp. and $300,000 from the Cornelia Warren Foundation.

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