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A Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan for Downtown Lewiston

Interface Studio, along with inHabit Architecture and Real Estate Strategies recently completed the State of Maine’s first Choice Neighborhood Study Area. This Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan was made possible through a Choice Neighborhood Initiative Planning and Action Grant awarded to the City of Lewiston  by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative aims for holistic transformation in neighborhoods struggling to address the interconnected challenges of distressed housing, poor health, underperforming schools, crime, and lack of investment. The program seeks to catalyze change in three different areas, in the lives of People, in local Housing, and in the Choice Neighborhood. 

This process was a truly collaborative effort, requiring the dedication, commitment, and expertise of many diverse partners. Over 400 people speaking over eight languages lent their voice and vision to the planning effort. Participants included life-long Lewiston residents and recent newcomers, Maple Knoll residents and neighbors from throughout the Choice Neighborhood Study Area, business owners, community organizations, City staff, elected officials, advocates, property owners, investors, foundations, local youth, people experiencing homelessness, and currently incarcerated women who will re-enter the Tree Streets community.  

More than $2 million has already been invested in the neighborhood as a result of the planning process, and during the City Council vote to [unanimously!] adopt the plan, Mayor Kristen Cloutier said there were, “few things we’ve done as a council I’ve felt this excited about supporting.”

With a population of over 36,000 residents, Lewiston, Maine is the second largest city in the state and is located 40 miles north of Portland and 35 miles southwest of the state capital in Augusta.

The focus of this Plan is the Tree Streets Neighborhood. Named for many of its streets, which, in turn, are named for different tree species, the neighborhood lies at the heart of the City and the Choice Study Area. The documented issues in the Downtown Lewiston Choice Neighborhood, such as the disproportionate levels of childhood lead poisoning, concentrated poverty, disinvested housing stock, slow pace of revitalization and rehab, and recent traumas tied to race-related violence and substance misuse, are significantly more pronounced within the Tree Streets.

And yet the Tree Streets are alive with hope, determination, and grit. The neighborhood is a truly global community, rich with a history of immigrants forming new beginnings. Though residents may come from around the corner or around the world, with different experiences, cultures, and traditions, they have common ground: a vibrant neighborhood with good bones, wonderful assets, and a shared sense of priorities.

The Tree Streets Lewiston and its residents are creating:

›› offer an environment where our PEOPLE can share their skills and talents and thrive with access to resources, educational opportunities, economic stability, and health and well-being.Our close-knit and resilient population celebrates our diverse roots and builds strength through our collective voice.

›› provide HOMES for all neighbors that are safe, healthy, and 100 percent lead-free, with options for a range of family sizes and income levels so that anyone who wants to live in the Tree Streets as an owner or renter can do so. Developing sustainably is important in order to create homes that work for generations to come.

›› support a NEIGHBORHOOD that people proudly choose to call home. It cultivates community inclusion and interaction across race, class, and ability. It nurtures our children while itself growing greener, more connected, safer, and stronger through shared stewardship, robust resources, and a thriving economy.

This Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan focuses on the replacement of the Maple Knoll Apartments and identifies two key opportunity sites for the replacement, one along the northern edge of Kennedy Park, and one at Pine and Bartlett Streets, extending further into the neighborhood along Pierce as well, as illustrated below: 


  • Lewiston Regional Map
  • Study Area Map
  • Lead
  • render kennedy park is
  • render infill site is
The Transformation Plan can be viewed in its entirety below:  
  • ReplacementSitesAxon