Friday, September 20, 2013

Civic Action: Talk now about the future of Congress Square?

Published in the Portland Phoenix

If you have ideas for the future of Congress Square, the city of Portland is interested in hearing them. Except, of course, if those ideas include revitalizing the concrete plaza at the corner of Congress and High streets. The city council voted Monday night to sell two-thirds of that public space to Rockbridge Capital, which is renovating the old Eastland Park Hotel.
If you think the sale is putting the cart before the horse, you’re far from alone. In fact, we warned about this very prospect more than a month ago: See “Getting Congress (Square) to Work,” by Jeff Inglis, August 16.
Nevertheless, the city has gone ahead and made the deal with Rockbridge. Opponents say they’ll go through the courts to challenge both the decision and the city’s refusal last week of a petition that would have increased restrictions on selling city-owned parks.
If you still want to have your voice heard — or at least listened to and then ignored — then put these two events on your calendar:
Monday, September 23 @ 6:30 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St, Portland
Wednesday, September 25 @ 6:30 pm | Williston-Immanuel United Church, 156 High St, Portland (enter off Deering Place)
And if you’re unable to attend but still want to put in your two cents’ worth, visit or
Of course, even if everyone in Maine put in their two cents’ worth twice, that still wouldn’t equal the $524,000 price Rockbridge is paying for the formerly public space.