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Pingree Announces $22.4 Million to Reconnect Historic Libbytown Neighborhood

When Interstate 295 was built in the late 1960s, Libbytown was ?severed from the rest of Portland? and construction displaced more than 15 businesses and 200 families

Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, today announced $22.4 million to reconnect the divided Libbytown neighborhood with Portland—improving accessibility, safety, and sense of community. The grant will support Maine Department of Transportation’s (MaineDOT) goal to address barriers and to support accessibility to housing, employment, retail, healthcare, tourism, and recreation. Pingree advocated for this project, which was funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program.

“For decades, the Libbytown neighborhood has been cut off from the rest of Portland and unfairly stunted by unsafe infrastructural barriers,” said Pingree. “MaineDOT’s project will make Libbytown safer and will help reconnect the neighborhood with Portland’s growing community. I’m thrilled I was able help get this historic part of Portland’s community and history the federal support needed to make these long overdue improvements.” 

“This funding will help reconnect and revitalize one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods,” said Bruce Van Note, Commissioner of MaineDOT. “Libbytown was dramatically impacted by the construction of the interstate in the 1960s. Now, MaineDOT is working with the City of Portland to not only improve safety and mobility for vehicles but also to make human-scale investments that will benefit pedestrians, bicyclists, and all transportation system users.”

MaineDOT’s “Reconnecting Our Villages: Historic Libbytown Project” will: 

  • Provide modern and uniform multi-modal connections to employment, retail, healthcare, tourism and recreation 
  • Expand safety and efficiency for motorists and active transportation users 
  • Improve response time for emergency services 
  • Implement multi-modal street design to improve active transportation and vehicle flow 
  • Expand the use of safe and convenient public transit 
  • Meet Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and MaineDOT standards for transportation infrastructure 
  • Manage flooding and stormwater runoff 
  • Improve supply chains to support efficient “last mile” delivery of goods to Maine’s largest downtown 

Libbytown is one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods. Tavern-keeper George Libby and his descendants gave the area its name, having settled in the early 19th century at the intersection of Park and Congress Streets, known as Libby’s Corner. The neighborhood was the center of a small but thriving business district, and the families that lived there gave Libbytown its identity. 

When Interstate 295 was built in the late 1960s, Libbytown was severed from the rest of Portland. Construction displaced more than 15 businesses and 200 families in Libbytown. The highway and large cloverleaf interchanges cut off the neighborhood and created physical barriers that still exist and cause great concern today. 

Find more information about the project here.


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