Franklin Countys First News

Farmington designated for its preservation efforts

This statement was signed by the founding fathers of Farmington in 1799 that announces their support of the formation of a library association. The document was included, along with many others, into a digital database by a local task force for the Maine Memory Network Maine's Online Museum. The online work to preserve Farmington's historical heritage was among the projects listed for the town's designation as a Preserve America Community.

FARMINGTON - Rewarding efforts to retain its cultural heritage through various preservation projects over the years, the town of Farmington has been designated as a Preserve America Community.

According to the announcement, Preserve America is a federal program that supports a community's efforts to preserve its cultural and natural heritage. Since the program's inception in 2003, the First Lady of the United States has been involved in supporting and promoting Preserve America. To date, 795 Preserve America communities have been designated in all 50 states and one U.S. territory, including 19 neighborhoods and four tribal communities.

Church Street underwent renovation in 2007.

Town officials were notified in a letter signed by First Lady Michelle Obama late last week. A certificate signed by the First lady and a road sign with the Preserve America designation will be displayed. More importantly, said Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser, who with the help of other community members completed the application, the designation includes listing in a Web-based Preserve America Community directory, inclusion in national and regional tourism press releases and an eligibility to apply for Preserve America grants.

The local projects listed in order to receive the designation included the recent Church Street renovation project, the walking tour signs that give historic facts and are erected in town, the work of the Farmington Historical Society that includes the ongoing capital campaign to raise funds to renovate the North Church into an educational center; Nancy Porter's genealogy research work, Librarian Melanie Coombs collaborative work with various groups to archive local history online and the past efforts including the revitalization of downtown 20 years ago.

"It's nice for Farmington to get this," Kaiser said. It opens the door for more grant possibilities."

Walking historical tour signs were erected last winter.

Projects on the wish list include upgrading the 20 street lights on Main and Broadway that were installed 20 years ago in the revitalization project. The problem, Kaiser said, is that the light poles and bases are made of aluminum and have, over the years, been damaged easily and are all corroding. The goal is to replace the aging lights with newer, much brighter lights and poles stronger to withstand heavy traffic and years of weather.

Another future project is to install granite curbing and new concrete sidewalks on High Street from Academy to South Street at the heart of the University of Maine at Farmington.

"It would improve drainage in the area and pedestrian safety," he said. Those projects and more will probably have to wait for grant funding to be completed. But, with this new federal designation, the prospect of getting a grant award has just improved, he added.

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1 Responses »

  1. While we're at it let's:

    Bring back the Farmington diner.
    Preserve Thoughtbridge.
    Preserve the intersection of Route 2 and High St. from being taken over by a police palace.