Orono town office plaza getting new look

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ORONO – What started out as a project to repair drainage issues at the town office has led to what will be extensive renovations for the plaza there over the next few weeks.

The town had been having trouble with groundwater seeping into the bottom floor of the town office, according to Public Works Director Rob Yerxa.

“We needed to install some underdrain along the foundation in the front and back, and we figured it we’re digging all that up, we might as well look at improvements to the pedestrian walkway between the town office and the fire station at the same time,” said Yerxa. “We’ve had issues with frost there in the past. And we’re also going to work on that section of sidewalk on Main Street between the fire station and Circle K.”

In addition to the underdrain repairs, the project will include LED light fixtures to make the walkway better illuminated for people to walk through in the evening, when they may be trying to reach parking areas in the town complex. ADA ramps also will be redone, and a retaining wall to be built in front of the town office will have a seating area.

The end result will also mean a narrower walkway.

“The open plaza isn’t being used for its original purpose any more, and there will be less maintenance in the winter for us,” said Yerxa. “And the curb line will be moved closer to the town office, which will make the walkway more inviting at night.”

The project, which is expected to be done by late September, may create some inconveniences in the area around the town office.

“There may be times when a door to the town office isn’t available for use,” said Yerxa. “But there always will be one ADA entrance open, and two means of egress for the building.”

The project, which is budgeted at $180,000, is being done by Sunset Development of Greenfield.