India Street Neighborhood Starts Planning its Future; Open House For Public Input – 3/16/13

Allison Brown, president of the India Street Neighborhood Association: “We want children in the neighborhood.”

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,287)

The first step to come up with a neighborhood plan for the future of the India Street corridor was taken when India Street Neighborhood Association board members met with two members of the city’s planning department  and two staff members of SustainSouthernMaine this afternoon. Facilitating the meeting were Carol Morris and Evan Richart, for SSM.  ISNA board members present consisted of business/home owners in the neighborhood.

SustainSouthernMaine is a consulting group funded by the Portland Council of Governments to study areas and determine what is the best direction for future growth of the area.  The India Street corridor was one of ten areas selected to participate in the study.  The results of the study are expected to be available this spring.  The results are non-binding. 

Prior to the recession, the India Street corridor was considered an up and coming section of Portland.  However, largely because of the recession, this did not materialize. In fact the area has been largely ignored and zoning regulations have allowed it to develop in a “hodge podge of urban density” with different zoning regulations within the neighborhood, according to Hugh Nazor, treasurer of the ISNA..  India Street is the oldest section of Portland, once Portland’s  industrial center, and was first named King Street, according to Nazor, who has researched the neighborhood extensively  

The next step in the process is an Open House to be held at the Jewish Museum, Congress Street, Saturday, March 16 beginning at 12:30 pm and running to the end of the day.  The purpose is to hear from people who are usually not part of the planning process, but would like an opportunity to observe and comment on the process.  Lite refreshments will be served. There will be several more meetings announced at a later date as part of the process.  The study is expected to be completed by the end of May.

“People don’t want to see a Manhattan like situation here.  We don’t want to live in a canyon of tall buildings,” said Allison Brown, President of the ISNA board a sentiment expressed by other board members.  “We want feet on the streets and children in the neighborhood.”

Sustain Southern Maine (www.sustainsouthernmaine.org) is a group of 37 partner organizations working to give communities ways in which to become more prosperous, healthy and attractive – now and in the future.

For more information, please email Carol Morris at: cmorris@morriscomm.net