Our Town Belfast footbridge seating plans on hold

By Ben Holbrook | Jan 25, 2013

Belfast — Our Town Belfast’s plan to install benches on the Armistice Footbridge is stalled following notification that the organization was not selected to move forward with its grant proposal, while local veterans and residents plan to move forward with their own seating project.

Breanna Bebb, executive director of Our Town Belfast, notified city councilors Tuesday, Jan. 15, that the organization was not asked to continue in the grant process. The group was seeking $132,000 in funding from ArtPlace — a national organization that focuses on investing in arts and culture in communities.

Bebb said in an email Our Town Belfast's plans for seating on the footbridge are on hold, but the group hopes to participate in conversations with the Armistice group regarding potential bench installation.

Although Our Town Belfast never submitted a detailed plan regarding potential seating on the footbridge, the group did outline a handful of possible design options. The group considered installing eight elevated seating locations, a computer-operated LED illumination effect and commissioning a local landscaping artist to create a screen for a pump station on the east side of the bridge.

Not all of the money was slated to be spent on the bridge seating plans, as some funding would have been given to the "Please, Be Seated" program that encourages local artists to design creative benches that are displayed around downtown Belfast.

Tammy Lacher Scully and Tim Parker, Legion Post #43 commander, who formed the Armistice Group, are planning on going before the Council to present a revised proposal of their seating plan, Lacher Scully said during a telephone interview Monday, Jan. 21.

Lacher Scully said the Armistice Group has been collecting ideas from the community in regard to installing seating on the footbridge. She said with only a few exceptions, most of the comments centered on concerns about people congregating on the bridge.

"I feel pretty confident that we are representing a pretty broad group of people in the community," Lacher Scully said.

Lacher Scully said the Armistice Group does not have an exact date when it will present the revised version of its seating plan

The Armistice Footbridge was restored and re-opened in 2006, and re-dedicated to the 55 Waldo County soldiers who died fighting in World War I during a special ceremony in 2010.

Parker, along with Lacher Scully, presented the Armistice Group's plan for seating on the bridge at a Dec. 18 City Council meeting. The group envisioned installing eight precast concrete benches that would be 14 inches wide, 16 inches long and 17 inches high.

The benches would be located within the widened portions of the footbridge, so as not to impede traffic.

Councilors opted to not take any action regarding the Armistice Group’s proposal during their Dec. 18 meeting, citing a desire to wait until Our Town Belfast was notified about its grant application.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Harold Richardson | Jan 25, 2013 15:06

I generally try to support veterans with any issues they might have but I can't understand what the heck it matters to anybody if people are congregating on the bridge.  It doesn't make any sense.  The proposal I saw them make to the council was that they didn't want comfortable benches because they didn't want people congregating there.  I think the Our Town people deserve an apology for the way they were treated by some of the yahoos supporting this plan.  I donated some money to this bridge and I don't remember anyone mentioning " by the way" we don't want people actually to be on the thing. Let's carry this same thought process to the harbor walk and rail trail-yeah we're going to spend tons of taxpayer money on these things but they'll last a long time because we are going to encourage people to not use them.  Is no one allowed to actually congregate in Arlington- might kill the grass.  I know it's Maine and I know a lotta stoopid stuff gets said all the time but this attitude is right at the top of the list with the boycott downtown crap.  I encourage the City Council to put a stop to this silliness straight away and make sure that everyone knows that they are welcome everywhere in Belfast, especially on the bridge that their tax money paid to rebuild.  What a bunch of maroons.       

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