We have watched with great anticipation as refurbished storefronts started to peek out from behind plywood recently at the Mausert Block building on Park Street, and the report in Monday’s Transcript on the project’s plans gave all the more reason for excitement.
We think it’s a wise approach on the part of building owners Braytonville Properties, and REDPM, the real estate property management firm, to approach this project as having two faces: one looking to Park Street and the other to that pedestrian and bicyclist thoroughfare, the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
We agree with REDPM’s construction project manager, Holly Stenson, that the orientation was "a no-brainer" as the backside of the Mausert Block is just steps away from the trail. What was once a ragged eyesore, is expected to become an outdoor seating area for a restaurant and is intended to attract the rail trail crowd. We hope that the planned extension of the Ashuwillticook northward to Lime Street will draw even more traffic there, to the benefit of this and other projects and businesses.
After too many years of seeing cracked glass and failed businesses in those storefronts on the Park Street side, we were also encouraged by the news that REDPM has letters of intent from two businesses and is in talks with a third, with 23 Park St. being tailored for a restaurant and two retail stores also in the mix. What’s more is that the ambitious timeline of having businesses open sometime this summer has been set.
We’re not burdened with rose-colored glasses: We know that the best laid schemes often go awry, but at this point, the plan for this much-needed improvement -- not to mention the 15 to 30 full-time jobs Stenson says come with it -- is reason for excitement indeed. We encourage all to welcome what may come. That may prove to make all the difference.