The Neighborhood Plan is the framework of the overall Growing Our Tree Streets Transformation Plan (the Plan). Harnessing the enormous community strengths that are here now, the Plan proposes a 25-year strategy to grow Tree Streets into a lead-free, economically diverse, and ethnically and socially welcoming community. The City of Lewiston is leading this plan in partnership with Lewiston Housing, community organizations, and the private sector.

The Choice Initiative Neighborhood Plan will:

  • – Increase the number of quality childcare options to meet families’ needs.
  • – Renovate B-Street Health Center to expand mental health and dental services for Lewiston families.
  • – Build a community-led food center to increase access to affordable, nutritious food.
  • – Create safe, fun places for youth and neighbors to gather outside.
  • – Build safer neighborhoods together.

Below we’ve included more details about each goal.

Increase quality childcare options to meet families’ needs.

Choice Initiative’s role

Choice is broadening and improving childcare options: more early childhood education, more second and third shift childcare, more culturally sensitive approaches and more locations to best meet the needs of Lewiston’s families.

Early Education: More of Lewiston’s children will be ready to excel in school with the expansion of the Promise Early Education Center. The 50 space expansion is opening up in Summer 2022, with Choice residents receiving first priority. This Head Start program is proven to improve student achievement.

Childcare: Expanding quality childcare in the Tree Streets by five additional locations (by 40 childcare spaces) via partnership with Coastal Enterprises Childcare Business Lab. More childcare facilities also means additional jobs for childcare workers and support for entrepreneurs interested in starting a childcare business.

Why it’s important

Maine’s highest concentration of children five and under live in the Tree Streets. One of the greatest Tree Street resident-identified needs is quality, affordable childcare with flexible hours for working families. 

More childcare spaces throughout the neighborhood means more kids will have a better start to life and their education with nurturing environments, safe spaces to play, engaging programs, and attention to their development.

Childcare is critical to Lewiston’s economy. Parents need childcare to work. Kids need to be taken care of in a place that is safe, provides structure and socialization, and supports their development.

Renovate B-Street Health Center to expand mental health and dental services for Lewiston families.

Choice Initiative’s role

Choice is funding renovations at the B-Street Health Center so Choice Partner Community Clinical Services will consolidate and expand medical, behavioral and dental care services in the remodeled B-Street Health Center.

This renovation means all services will be at one location in the Tree Streets neighborhood. The renovation will increase overall space available for mental health and dental care, allowing for providers to serve more people.

Why it’s important

With this expansion, B-Street will offer a continuity of medical, behavioral and dental care. This improves patient safety, quality of care and overall health and wellness outcomes. 

With more access to preventative and ongoing healthcare, people and families will be less likely to rely on costly emergency services for their health needs. This helps reduce the strain on our local healthcare systems and reduces overall healthcare costs for everyone. These changes help increase Lewiston’s healthcare capacity, which helps all of us. When people are able to address their health needs, they are able to focus more on their families and economic stability.

Build a community-led food center to increase access to affordable, nutritious food.

Choice Initiative’s role

Choice Initiative funding is helping build and fund a new community-led Community Food Center in Dewitt, the new development that will be built across from Kennedy Park. The Center will increase access to nutritious, affordable, local food.

Why it’s important

This food center isn’t just IN the community where it is needed – it is OF the community. Residents are working to create the food center’s business and systems will eventually help run the food center once it opens. The food center creates jobs and business opportunities for people in the Tree Streets.

Support for this community-led cooperative is support for local businesses, farmers, and entrepreneurs. This will be a great new amenity for people who want to support local folks when they buy their groceries and other household needs.

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

Choice Initiative’s role

Choice Initiative funding is increasing safe places to play and gather throughout the Tree Streets Neighborhood and ensuring existing spaces are clean, safe and have amenities families want to use.

This currently includes: a new sledding hill and soccer field on Bartlett Street with sitting areas/trails/an orchard; installing public art, including in vacant lots; improving Kennedy Park, including new sitting areas, wheelchair charging station, and game tables.

Why it’s important

These community spaces grow neighborhood and community connections, and include important safety upgrades to public spaces.

This grows the overall pride in our community as spaces that were once abandoned are repurposed. These wonderful, new, and exciting amenities are for anyone in the community to use. All Lewiston residents will benefit and have a reason to be downtown more.

Build safer neighborhoods together.

Choice Initiative’s role

Choice Initiative responds to community-led priorities for Lewiston as a safe, healthy, welcoming, equitable and vibrant community. Choice Initiative partners will fund and ensure the following: 

  • Improving the walking experience in Lewiston with an emphasis on safe routes to schools. This includes creating well-lit, better-designed walkways and sidewalks to increase safety for people walking in the neighborhood.
  • Acquiring and redeveloping vacant properties to address the physical safety and crime related challenges they present.  
  • Increasing the number of officers to provide downtown foot patrols.
  • Filling vacant positions to double the current Community Resource Team staff up to three patrol officers and a supervisor, who will work from the Community Policing station at the B-Street Health Center.
  • Expanding proactive patrols with expanded selective enforcement teams (SET) to investigate sex and drug trafficking and gun violence.

Why it’s important

Safe neighborhoods mean accessible sidewalks and street crossings, neighbors who know one another, well-lit streets and parks, clean water in homes and schools, access to medical care, responsive and responsible police, and a low crime rate. The perception of Lewiston, specifically Downtown Lewiston and its Tree Streets, as an unsafe place persists. However, Lewiston is among the safest of cities in Maine—ranking in lower crime than Portland, Bangor, and Augusta. 

Safety is important to people’s mental and physical health. Chronic stress from worrying about safety can disrupt healthy brain development for children. It can increase depression and anxiety in all people, which decreases our community’s health. Everyone deserves to feel safe from violence and crime. Choice is helping put the supports in place to set our community up for success and steer clear of potential problems ahead.