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Without funding, Riverfront Bridge paint job remains on task list

HOULTON, Maine — For the past 13 years, town officials, community organizations and volunteers have worked successfully to develop Gateway Crossing bridge and the adjacent Riverfront Park into one of the highlights of the town. With its  187-foot pedestrian footbridge, comfortable park, playground and expansive walking trails, the area has become a gathering place for the community.

As the area continues to flourish, however, the paint on the railings of the footbridge has begun to disintegrate. The black paint is now missing in large chunks on sections of the bridge, and the town is working to find a solution.

Nancy Ketch, the town’s economic and community development director, said Friday that the town had hoped to use grant funding they had secured in 2017 to paint the railings along the bridge. But they found out that they could not use the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant money for the project because grant rules would not allow it, sending them back to the drawing board.

She said that getting the work done is more complicated than most people realize.

“We have to find a way to catch the paint before it goes into the [Meduxnekeag] River,” she said. “And that is hard when you have a bridge that goes over a river. So we need to put it out to bid and see who can do the work properly.”

She said that she does not know when the job will be done, but the town is actively working on it.

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