Summer 2023

Increasing quality childcare options to meet family needs.

This work helps make sure children are cared for and are learning in safe spaces. They also create early learning and childcare job opportunities in the Tree Streets while helping parents participate in the local economy knowing their children are safe and learning.

This spring, Promise Early Childhood Education Center’s expansion to 1 College Street was finished and new classrooms are open!  Promise has five new classrooms featuring Head Start and Early Head Start curriculum. This expansion means 50 young children in Lewiston will become ready for elementary school and better prepared for academic success. Choice families receive priority placement. For more information call 207.795.4040, ext. 325, or visit

Happy Little Paradise Childcare, a culturally informed childcare center on Pine Street, opened last summer with bilingual care for 24 preschool students. Happy Little Paradise is owned and operated by recent graduates of the Childcare Business Lab, a program of Choice Initiative partner Coastal Enterprise, Inc. The program encourages local residents in small business development to meet local childcare needs.

Raise-Op is currently planning to open a new daycare in their office building with 12 slots.

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 Initiative development. Construction will begin in Summer 2023 and will continue for 1.5-2 years. This development will have 82 rental homes in 9 buildings. These new, lead-free rental homes are part of a response to residents’ calls for safe, affordable homes in the Tree Streets.

We are also working on plans for Dewitt, which is another Choice-funded development. Dewitt will be built on Pine Street across from Kennedy Park and will have 103 units in two buildings. It will also have commercial space on the first floor.

Lewiston Housing will manage the new apartments after they are built. You can sign up here if you are interested in learning when waitlists open. Please note that this is an interest list and not a waitlist. Everyone on the interest list will be notified when Lewiston Housing starts taking applications. Signing up on this list won’t guarantee an apartment.

Create safe, fun places for youth and neighbors to gather outside.

The Tree Streets is now home to new public art works! In addition to new public art, more Choice-funded work will begin soon including new landscaping, signage, and lighting all designed to help make the Tree Streets neighborhood safer and even more beautiful.

After input from the community regarding the transformation of the Tree Street neighborhood, new public art was chosen and installed:

  • – “Nailed It” by William Josiah Glover, Jr. features a giant hammer and nails at Pine and Howe streets. It is a symbol of rebuilding and development.
  • – “Young Trees Going for a Walk” is a large yellow metal sculpture by artist Andreas von Huene and was recently installed on a vacant lot at Bartlett and Birch Streets.
  • – A triptych of thin metal silhouettes is the work of James Meyer installed in the fall at Mike McGraw Park. The first, in blue, is entitled “Boys All In”, the second, in red, “Playscape 2022” and the third, in yellow, “Girls All In.”
  • – A granite art sculpture, “Wind and Wave,” was created by artist Jesse Salisbury and recently installed in Kennedy Park.
  • – “Arboreal Figure” by sculpture artist Hugh Lassen was recently installed in Kennedy Park. 

Murals are also starting to appear throughout the Tree Streets. The “City of Us,” a mural created by local artist Eamon White is on Bartlett Street. It pictures more than a dozen flags, representing the home countries and ancestry of community members. This mural adds to others already in place.

More improvements to the neighborhood include:

The entrance to Kennedy Park is being revamped to create a more inviting entrance into the neighborhood. There are also new chess tables, a water fountain, wheelchair charging stations, and more seating.

Simard Payne Park now features an outdoor fitness center.

New drainage is now in place to minimize flooding in Paradis Park. This will give children more access to the park’s play area.

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

New Housing
Raise-Op Housing Cooperative hosting a ribbon cutting at
their new development on Blake Street. The other half of the development on Walnut Street will open in Fall 2023. 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

The Szanton Company hosted a groundbreaking at Picker House Lofts which will feature 72 affordable and market rate units located in Lewiston’s Continental Mill. The development’s construction will take 1.5-2 years.

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:

  1. Adopt a housing first model; prioritize providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness,
  2. Provide on-site wrap-around support for residents with disabilities and/or in recovery,
  3. Provide no barrier shelter resources; and
  4. 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 neighborhood’s transformation 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 address housing for all sufficiently. 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.

Previous Updates

Spring 2022

Autumn 2022