Westbrook Receives Cost Estimate for Downtown Septic System
The town has received an estimate of $12 to $13 million to construct a wastewater system in downtown Westbrook, and a meeting with nearby property owners will be scheduled in the near future to discuss the next steps.
At a Board of Selectman (BOS) meeting on Sept. 12, First Selectman John Hall announced that there had been some progress on efforts to fix one of Westbrook’s longtime concerns: finding a wastewater solution for the downtown.
Earlier this year, the town allocated about $30,000 in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) money for a conceptual plan for a wastewater system in Westbrook’s downtown. At the meeting on Sept. 12, Hall reported that the cost estimates for the project had come in at $12 to $13 million.
Hall said that the town would be looking to see what grants are available to help with the project and that the town has about $1 million in ARPA funding allocated for the project.
He added that relevant committees such as the Downtown Revitalization Committee, the Economic Development Commission, and the Town Planner would discuss the project again at the end of September. After that meeting, a separate meeting with property owners in the downtown will be held sometime toward the end of October or early November.
“Last year, we had a meeting with that group, and they charged us to come back when we had a plan. Now we have a plan,” Hall said.
Westbrook Town Planner Peter Gillespie cautioned that even with the estimates for the project in, there is still a long process for the town to go through. Gillespie said that the town will have to make decisions relating to how much the town can contribute to the project and what, if any, grant opportunities are available.
“We’re continuing to move the ball forward,” Hall said.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this. Right now, I’m researching what available funding might be out there in grant,” Gillespie said.
Ultimately, the project will need to be approved by the town once the details are ironed out, Gillespie said.
“There will be more public process to this once we meet with the merchants in the area,” he said.
Working to revitalize Westbrook’s town center has been a decades-long goal for the town. The Town Center Revitalization Committee was first formed in 1997, and a 1998 report listed sewage disposal as a main concern for the area.
Over the years, residents have reported that prospective businesses have decided to open elsewhere due to the constraints the lack of an adequate system places on the area.