The Lower Village Development Committee began work to make proposals about ways to improve the lower village in Topsham, especially with a riverfront park. They quickly came to realize that if they didn’t address a number of other issues in and around the lower village, they might not make much progress towards a riverfront park. In addition they came to realize that the various parts of this vision are connected together in ways that make progress on one aspect dependent on progress on the others. More specifically the Committee seeks:
- a walkable lower village with high quality opportunities for robust commercial development that provide amenities for those who live in, work in, or visit the lower village.
- a park that provides river access as part of that walkable lower village, and we want opportunities for people to walk, run or bike along the river.
- safe, orderly movement of traffic into and through the lower village, with enough parking to support the commercial enterprises and the residences in the lower village, and with safety for pedestrians (including children) to cross Main Street.
Three types of stakeholders - Staff/Steering Committee, Abutters and the Citizens - are addressed by different meetings with distinctive goals and agendas, yet together they create an interrelated citizen engagement process. In addition, meetings occur in a “leap frog” pattern to cross inform and build upon each other.
The Town of Topsham engaged our consultant team for Planning, Concept Design and Outreach services to study the feasibility of extending a riverfront trail from the existing Lower Village. The Feasibility Study addressed the following considerations:
- Environmental constraints evaluated for impact on potential alignments, including wetlands, flood plains, habitat, ice and other applicable environmental regulations.
- Property constraints evaluated for impact on potential alignments, including physical dimensions of property and private ownership.
- Points of physical and visual access to the river.