The City Community Development Program has successfully implemented projects to improve the livability of the City using CDBG funds since 2004. Please read about a few of these beneficial projects below.
Thornton Heights Common
Demolition and Clearance
Thornton Heights Commons Demolition and Clearance Grant. CDBG funds used to aid a local affordable Housing developer with the demolition and clearance of 611 Main Street. Decent, safe, healthy, and affordable housing options are in integral part of ensuring low-income families have access to quality education, health care and sustainable livelihoods. The gap between rents and incomes continues to grow as rising costs extends a farther reach into towns and cities throughout Maine. Presently, the greater Portland area for which this project is slated has less than a 4% rental vacancy rate. The Site where Thornton Heights Commons was a vacant parcel that formerly comprised the St. John’s Catholic Church, which closed in 2013. The property contained the former church building, school / classroom building, residence, asphalt parking lot, and wooded yard and gardens. New streetscape, sidewalks, and on-street parking were recently installed along the three adjacent roads as part of the Main Street Revitalization project undertaken by the City of South Portland in the recent past. The Thornton Heights Commons development envisions a mix of residential and retail use that will contribute to the City’s housing stock while also helping to revitalize Main Street. As envisioned in the City of South Portland’s Comprehensive Plan, this project seeks to be the first step in achieving the following Main Street Community Commercial Hub goals:
- Create a business district that balances pedestrian accessibility and safety with vehicular mobility
- Create a mixed-use center that reconfigure Main Street as a City Street
- Add retail and service businesses as well as increased residential options
- Create a pedestrian friendly environment with buildings closer to the street
- Meals on Wheels – Home-bound South Portland seniors received food and home visits
- Family Crisis Services – The Enhanced Police Intervention Collaboration (EPIC) program collaborated police officers with domestic violence victim advocates when responding to domestic violence incidents.
- Emergency Heating Assistance – General Assistance provided emergency heating assistance to low-income South Portland households
- Redbank Hub Personnel – The Redbank Hub continued to provide resources, community dinners, and after school programming, for the Redbank neighborhood. CDBG funded staffing and utility costs at the Hub.
- Recreation Scholarships – Low-income South Portland youth received scholarships to attend summer camp
- Senior Bus Program – Administrative fees to transport South Portland Seniors from their homes to the community center.
REDBANK COMMUNITY CENTER
Redbank Community Center is located in the heart of the South Portland's West End neighborhood, just across from the Redbank Village leasing office. The City used CDBG funds to replace the gym floor, and bleachers. CDBG also funded renovations to the Kitchen, which included a dishwasher and ADA countertop. Fiber Optics and a new security system were also added to the community center.
Street Scape Improvements
Community Development Block Grant funds, provide assist with Public Infrastructure and facilities improvements in low-income target areas of the City. This year, those areas include Ferry Village and Knightville.
C Street GreenBelt
This park is adjacent to the Redbank Community Center in the predominantly low-income Redbank neighborhood. In recent years, the former school property in Redbank Village that had stood vacant and vandalized was rehabilitated into the Community Center, and in the 2013 program year, the empty lot next to it was turned into the new Redbank Park thanks to CDBG funds. The park now features a permanent pavilion, bike racks, a playground, a basketball court, benches and trees, and has become a new focal point and amenity for the neighborhood as it works towards revitalization.
Read more about the park and its impact on the community!
Mill Creek Transit Hub
This bus shelter/transit hub was financed by CDBG as well as Federal Transit Administration grants, City Bus Capital Reserve Funds, and City General Funds. The hub allows for timed transfers, and a comfortable and convenient experience for transit riders, providing indoor and outdoor waiting areas, seating, trash receptacles, a clock, route and schedule information, and outdoor landscaping. The structure was designed in accordance with the Knightville/Mill Creek neighborhood "Village Commercial" design standards to blend with the character of this unique mixed-use neighborhood. The project broke ground in June of 2013 and opened to the public in May of 2014.
KNIGHTVILLE SIDEWALKS & SEWER SEPARATION
This project, located in the 66.2% low/moderate income Knightville neighborhood, was implemented in two phases. Phase I addressed the need for enhanced sewer capacity in the growing urban area by installing over almost 5,000 feet of new storm drains. These new drains successfully separated over 15 acres of urban development from the City's combined sewer system, freeing up capacity for increased economic development in the area, and alleviating ongoing storm water flow into Casco Bay. Phase I also involved the reconstruction of sidewalks on the section of Ocean Street between Broadway Street and Waterman Drive.
Phase II of the Knightville sidewalk rehabilitation project widened and fixed thousands of feet of broken and damaged sidewalks, and provided handicap accessible "tip downs" at a number of intersections. Cottage Road, Ocean Street, and Thomas Street have been repaved, and new lines and parking spaces painted. New LED streetlights have been installed, and the Legion Square rotary has also been redesigned with cobblestones.
Phase I of this project was financed with the assistance of a $306,986.88 PY 2011 Community Development Block Grant, and Phase II with a $125,000 PY 2012 grant.
MILL CREEK PARK
This City Park provides green space and recreational opportunities to the residents of the Knightville/Mill Creek area, and citizens working or visiting in the neighborhood. The City and The Friends of Mill Creek Park organization partnered to develop a plan to make much-needed improvements and repairs to the park in 2008.
Using the goals and priorities first developed in this planning study, the City financed and completed major improvements to the Park in 2012. These multi-year improvements consisted of pedestrian pathways, pond clean up, stream crossings, improved access to the Veterans' Memorial, and reconstruction of the Gazebo. A talented landscape architect also designed functional public gardens and plantings for the Park, and new architectural elements such as stone gardens, benches, and a new entrance have all helped create a beautiful public space for neighborhood residents.
The following Community Development Block Grants financed the majority of this project for the City of South Portland:
2008 Mill Creek Planning: $10,439
2009 Mill Creek Park Benches: $5,912
2010 Mill Creek Park Improvements, Phase I: $100,000
2011 Mill Creek Park Improvements, Phase II: $220,123
2012 Mill Creek Park Improvements, Phase III: $152,385
2014 Mill Creek Park Improvements, Phase IV: $184,704
We encourage you to take the time to visit and see all that Mill Creek Park has to offer!