Residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the city's proposed downtown revitalization project during a public hearing Dec. 4.

The public hearing will give residents the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the committee and engineers who have been working on a conceptual plan for the proposed redesign, Belfast's Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge explained.

In 2012, the city received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to make improvements to a portion of the downtown that is bordered by Main Street, Front Street, Cross Street, and Belfast Common.

According to previously published reports, the goal of the improvements is to increase the connectivity between the downtown and Belfast Common by adjusting traffic flow along Cross Street and installing a focal point at the entrance into Belfast Common that would be visible from Main Street in order to attract pedestrians to the area.

In addition, the city would also create additional parking spaces on Cross, Miller and Spring streets. Project Administrator Ron Harriman estimated the project would create about 40 parking spaces.

Some of the key proposals of the project would include changing Cross Street to one-way traffic from the southern edge of the public parking lot to the intersection of Spring Street. The street would continue to accommodate two-way traffic between Main Street and the public parking lot, according to previously published reports.

Other improvements include the construction of roughly 1,400 linear feet of crosswalks and sidewalks, the installation of pedestrian-scale lighting, and updating and redesigning utilities and drainage.

Speaking to The Republican Journal Tuesday, Nov. 26, Kittredge and Harriman explained the goal of the project is to increase connectivity between the downtown, Belfast Common and the Harbor Walk; as well as to make the project area more pedestrian friendly and to encourage development and redevelopment in the area.

The estimated cost of the project is $627,165. Kittredge said the additional funding needed to complete the work could come from the city's Downtown Tax Increment Financing district or from another source.

During the public hearing Dec. 4, Harriman said the city's engineering firm, Sebago Technics, will give a detailed presentation about the proposed project for attendees.

Once the public hearing is completed, Harriman said the next step in the project is to move into the final design phase to work out the “nitty-gritty details.” He said as soon as the committee has accurate cost estimates for the work, the project would go before the city council for approval, which could occur by the end of the year or early in 2014.

Kittredge said once the project is approved, the goal is to start work by spring 2014, so as not to cause disruptions during the busy summer months.

The public hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 4, starts at 6 p.m. at the Belfast Boathouse, which is located at 34 Commercial Street. Anyone with questions prior to the meeting can contact Kittredge at 338-3370, ext.16, or Harriman at 947-8595 or by email at ronharriman5@gmail.com.