Causeway seed money grows

NW 52 dd47 naples photo NICE SMILES AND BIG CHECK FOR CAUSEWAY

PRESENT AS NORWAY SAVINGS BANK bestows a donation to Naples Main Street on Wednesday are: (From left) area resident and businessman Kevin Hancock, Naples Main Street members Nancy Hanson, Bob Neault, and Connie Eldridge, Norway Savings Bank President Pat Weigel, and Vice President and Naples Branch Manager Holly Chase. In addition to this monetary gift, Hancock and Dick Dyke donated $10,000 each. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Kevin Hancock might be a resident of Casco, but he understands the ripple effect that the new bridge and the vastly improved Causeway in Naples have on the whole region.

“The Causeway has become the destination. When people see the new bridge and the boardwalk, they feel like they have arrived,” Hancock said.

The Naples Causeway has earned a place in people’s conversation, and the comments are typically positive, he said. The improvements are a boon for the tourists, the local residents and the area businesses, he said.

When Hancock heard about future enhancements to the Causeway, he decided it was a project worth donating to. So, he wrote a check for $10,000.

While most people see a completed product — the fixed Bay of Naples Bridge and an entirely renovated Causeway — local residents involved with that process have envisioned an even more inviting public space, according to Causeway Renovation Committee Chairman Bob Neault.

The Maine State Department of Transportation’s infrastructure project wrapped up in September. However, continued improvements to that section of Naples are still in the works.

On Wednesday, Norway Savings Bank donated $10,000 as seed money to pay for the engineering plans, and kick-start the fundraising campaign for the public park on the Causeway.

“More than being just a business in town, we see ourselves as members of the greater vibrant Naples community,” said bank President Pat Weigel.

“We recognize all the good work that has already been completed on the Causeway project, and we support the enhancements. These improvements will definitely draw even more people to the area, which we think benefits the whole community,” Weigel said.

Naples homeowner and area businessman Dick Dyke also dedicated money to the Causeway project.

“We are thankful that these community businesses are contributing to the Causeway enhancements,” Neault said. “We cannot do this without seeing the engineering plans. People said, ‘We agree to help you get to that point because we think it is that important.’”

According to Neault, that seed money is being donated to Naples Main Street, which is the financial arm for the Causeway projects. The CRC assists in decision making about the project. As stages of the project are approved, Naples Main Street would turn over the funding to the Town of Naples, Neault said.

The proposed project includes an amphitheater stage and pavilion, plus an interactive historical park, and varying styles of water fountains.

The firm, Richardson and Associates Landscape Architects will be creating the engineering plans for the multi-faceted project. Earlier this month, owner Todd Richardson met with members of the CRC and the Naples Board of Selectmen to discuss ideas.

Richardson struck an agreement with the town to draw up the engineering plans for what would be designed on the south side of the bridge. As part of the agreement, the town would own the architectural drawings, Neault said.

According to Neault, having a set of blueprints in hand makes it much easier for possible donors to visualize the next steps of upgrades to the Causeway’s green-space.

“I enjoy working with Todd. He and his firm are extremely excited about working on this project,” Neault said. “Over the course of a year, he has invested time and effort into the design and the concept. He has kept in touch with us, and is very excited to work on it.”

Neault said he is looking forward to working with “a very energetic group from Richardson’s office” to bring these engineering plans to fruition.

Local resident Barbara Clark, who is also executive director of Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled about the three $10,000 donations.

“It’s been a passion of mine — being part of the group of people who helps to shape the look of the Causeway,” she said.  “The major project is done, but there is more work to do.”

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