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07/28/2017

Town wins sidewalk-improvement grant

The award for the 2020 construction season comes as current town-center development adds to the Tax Increment Financing district fund for infrastructure improvements to the town center


Taxes generated from improvements to this property at Hill Way will contribute to the town-center Tax Increment Finance district fund, earmarked for sidewalks and other infrastructure in the town center Photo courtesy town planning office

Cape Elizabeth, along with the cities of Portland and South Portland, will benefit from a sidewalk improvement grant awarded by the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System.

Cape Elizabeth is planning to use its $500,000 share of the grant, to be awarded for the 2020 construction season, to complete sidewalks along Route 77 in front of the Pond Cove Shopping Center south to the intersection of Fowler Road.

The three municipalities applied jointly for the grant early this year [news article].

The 25-percent required match will come the town-center Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district fund [news article]. Since the district was established in 2015, tax collected on increases in town-center property value have been set aside to fund public improvements such as sidewalks and drainage in the town center.

Taxes on improvements to existing businesses like C-Salt and Cumberland Farms have generated revenue for the fund in the last two years, but the newest addition to the town center - the medical office and apartment complex under construction at Hill Way - is the first project where funds will be added for improvements from the ground up.

In a progress report prepared for the Town Council this month, the Comprehensive Plan 2019 Committee shared results of an informal public-opinion survey taken at the June 2017 Strawberry Festival hosted by the Cape Farm Alliance. Visitors to the committee's table at the festival were asked to identify their favorite Cape Elizabeth spot, and to complete the sentence, "I wish Cape Elizabeth had ... "

The results are posted in a word cloud, with "Sidewalks" dominating the graphic: