No specifics on Macdonald project yet

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The Macdonald family isn’t ready to get specific about plans for their properties at Pondicherry Square, Community Development Committee Chairman Mike Tarantino said Thursday.

“They’re keeping their cards pretty close to the vest,” he said, referring to a meeting the committee held with Bill Macdonald on Dec. 19. He said there was no mention of whether restaurant owner Jimmy Burke, owner of Orta Restaurant in Pembroke, Mass., was still interested in redeveloping the Macdonald’s land on the southwestern corner of Main Street and Portland Road — where Stone Surface & Granite and two other Macdonald buildings are located.

Alan Manoian, director of economic and community development, said he has created a concept design for Burke and the Macdonald’s that replaces the buildings with a mixed-use residential-commercial development anchored by an upscale restaurant. The complex would be oriented toward Stevens Brook and include a riverfront promenade, he has said.

Tarantino also reported that the committee decided to hold a joint meeting with the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 4 p.m. in the selectmen’s meeting room. “There’s a lot of crossover” in terms of goals that both the committee and the corporation are working on, he said, and the meeting will help to clarify how both entities can best support each other.

Committee members also discussed the possibility of relocating the veteran’s memorial at Post Office Square to another location in town. “This is strictly at the talking stage right now,” said Tarantino. For some time, town leaders have debated the merits of moving the memorial to a location more suitable for ceremonial purposes, such as Farragut Park on Main Hill.

Work needs to be done to improve the park’s appearance, however, before such a move could take place, he said.

Tarantino also said that the committee is actively looking for more members, and encourages any resident interested in any aspect of community development to consider serving. The Community Development Committee’s membership has fluctuated in recent years, and now consists of Tarantino, Chuck Renneger, Dee Miller, Mark Lopez, Jim Mains Jr. and Ken Murphy.

Anyone interested in applying to serve may contact the Bridgton Municipal Complex at 647-8786.

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