Increasing quality childcare options to meet family needs.
This Fall 2022, Promise Early Childhood Education Center is moving to One College Street from its current B-Street Community Health Center location. Renovations at One College Street are nearly complete and an expected opening is set for December. Promise is expanding into five classrooms featuring Head Start and Early Head Start curriculum. This expansion means nearly 40 young students in Lewiston will become ready for elementary school and better prepared for academic success, while their parents are able to participate in the local economy knowing their children are safe and are learning. Choice families receive priority placement. To enroll your child in Promise call 207.795.4040, ext. 325, or online at www.promiseearlyeducation.org.
Additionally, Happy Little Paradise Childcare, a new, culturally-informed childcare center on Pine Street, has opened and features bi-lingual care for 24 preschool students. Happy Little Paradise is owned and operated by recent graduates of the Childcare Business Lab, which is offered through Choice Initiative partner, Coastal Enterprise, Inc. The program encourages local residents in small business development to meet local childcare needs.
These two projects help make sure children are cared for and are learning in safe, code-compliant spaces. These projects also create early learning and childcare job opportunities in the Tree Streets.
Building and restoring safe, quality, and lead-free homes all neighbors can afford.
The Wedgewood Mansion renovation and the construction of new homes on Pine, Pierce, Bartlett, and Walnut Streets is the first Choice development to be built with construction expected early in 2023. This development will have 82 rental homes in 9 buildings. These new, lead-free rental homes are in response to residents’ calls for safe, affordable homes within the Tree Streets.
The City of Lewiston Planning Board and the City Council have approved a contract zone change for Wedgewood that includes setbacks, parking, and driveway widths. Additionally, City Council approved this fall TIF assistance and HOME funding in support of this development. These changes help ensure these new homes fulfill resident needs while contributing to the transformation of downtown Lewiston into a walkable, vibrant place. It also furthers our city’s goals for safe housing and attractive outdoor spaces.
Expanding healthcare access for people and families.
Promise’s move from its B-Street Center location makes it possible for the B-Street Community Health Center to expand. This expansion, anticipated in 2024, means Community Clinical Service can bring in more doctors, dentists, and mental health professionals to serve children and adults in and around the Tree Streets neighborhood.
Transformation Plan Successes
Raise-Op Housing Cooperative is in mid-construction of their new development on the corner of Blake and Walnut Streets. These two buildings each feature nine apartments built to passive house standards and managed democratically through Raise-Op’s cooperative housing model. The development’s location is considered infill housing, meaning it is new housing built on a vacant lot. Interested in Raise-Op? Check out their info here: https://www.raiseop.com/housing.html
Avesta Housing and Community Concepts, Inc. welcome residents into Gauvreau Place! Gauvreau Place is a three-story apartment building featuring 35 mixed-income homes for individuals and families. Located at the corner of Blake and Pine streets, it is within easy walking distance of several bus lines, Kennedy Park, and other services and locations important to daily living. The development is named for Paul Gauvreau, a well-known Lewiston attorney, legislator, and volunteer for several nonprofit organizations.
Local public parks have more to offer residents of any age with a sledding hill, improved trails and new benches and seating at McGraw Park and chess tables, and a water fountain at Kennedy Park. Simard Payne Park now features an outdoor fitness center, while drainage improvements are taking place at Paradis Park. In addition, our community’s creative spirit is encouraged with inspired public artworks such as the youth-created mural entitled “City Of US” on Birch Street and large sculptures in McGraw Park and at Howe and Pine Streets. Installation of a third sculpture is scheduled this winter for Bartlett Street with more public art to come!
Community celebrations resumed this summer and fall with a fun-filled Community Block Party along Pine Street to welcome in the new school year and the Second Annual Sledding Hill celebration in the works for this coming winter!
Choice Initiative & Homelessness in Lewiston
Services for people and families who are unhoused have been a large part of the conversation in Lewiston over the last several months. Lewiston Housing and the City of Lewiston have had many discussions about how the Choice Initiative addresses homelessness in our community.
Additionally, HUD determines eligible activities for the use of the Choice funding and focuses on the creation of permanent housing that will transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into functioning, sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods. Projects funded by Choice are determined at the time of application.
The Growing Our Tree Streets Transformation Plan outlines the following long-term strategies to support our unhoused community members:
- Adopt a housing first model; prioritize providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness,
- Provide on-site wrap-around supports for residents with disabilities and/or in recovery,
- Provide no barrier shelter resources; and
- Provide low-barrier transitional housing where permanent housing cannot be secured, including sober homes and congregate homes for youth aging out of foster care.
Choice Initiative funding will move these strategies forward by:
Building permanent housing. People and families with stable housing can focus on their health and economic stability. As part of the Choice-funded housing developments, Lewiston Housing provides preference to 20% of the units for people and families who are unhoused, victims of domestic violence, or people with a disability. Lewiston Housing will also provide access to supportive services so residents can be more successful in their homes and lives.
Funding services for Lewiston people vulnerable to homelessness. With increased access to healthcare, education and job training, and other services critical to helping people and families create stability, the Choice Initiative – and the investments Choice will continue to leverage – is helping prevent homelessness.
Choice is a catalyst. To address homelessness, we must build more housing to meet the significant demand. The activities implemented through Choice funding are just the beginning. This work is launching the transformation of the neighborhood while preserving its character and creating pathways for other partners to implement other strategies in the Plan. The number of new units needed to create stable housing and provide supportive services will take time to sufficiently address housing for all. This is a start—and a catalyst for additional investment in Lewiston’s housing and people. We look forward to more conversations as this work moves forward.