What is Waterville’s past? It's the pedestrian city. The walkable city. The one where hard-working individuals commuted by foot to the historic mills that defined the city’s landscape and character. And the one that was fractured by concessions to the car. Ahead of us, we see a Waterville that not only compensates for that fracture, but invigorates the city more than ever. We need a way to honor these roots while empowering the people to reclaim the city.
Imagine a more connected Waterville that draws upon its tradition as an accessible community. A place catered towards walkers, shoppers, art-aficionados, and nature-enthusiasts alike. We want to look to the Waterville’s past to guide us when thinking about its future; Waterville is evolving, but that doesn’t mean it has to lose its spirit. Our idea, the Elm City Pier, is an elevated, pedestrian-friendly footbridge offering public art, green space, lounging areas, pop-up stores, and local food vendors that safely links existing Waterville communities while also attracting new visitors. We envision a public project that first and foremost satisfies existing community needs while bringing beauty and business to Waterville. The Pier can be a platform for people to take in the river and new skyline, but also for Waterville to thrive: it is a foundation that creates new social possibilities while also incubating new economic and artistic prospects. Built over the Spring Street Intersection, with entrances accessible in multiple neighborhoods, the Pier benefits current residents with its practicality while also serving as a showcase space and a point of city pride.
With construction on projects downtown and seemingly more to come, the growth of Waterville is inevitable. But we want to ensure that it is guided by the will of its citizens, not by profit. The city and its infrastructure should serve its people, not the other way around. We hope to construct a celebration of Waterville’s cherished collective identity that breeds further cohesion and invites others to come experience the city we love.