By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,709)
The City of Portland announced today that it will be holding a public informational meeting on the proposed performance addition to the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Thursday, February 27, at 7 pm at the East End Community School, 195 North Street on Munjoy Hill. The reason for this city hosted meeting, according to a source in the planning office, is that the city would like to play a larger role in the public discussion for larger projects such as the St. Lawrence Arts Center expansion plans.
This meeting is in addition to a meeting hosted by the St. Lawrence Arts Center set for Wednesday, February 12, from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm at 76 Congress Street. That meeting will focus on traffic in the area and how the St. Lawrence plans to mitigate any problems, if there are any, in that regard. Critics of the expansion plans of the “SLA” have focused on parking concerns and the massiveness of the building
Ever since its construction in the late 1900 century, the former Congregational Church has been a center of community activity for the Munjoy Hill community. Because of declining membership, the St. Lawrence closed its doors on Easter Sunday of 1986. It simply could not afford the upkeep for this landmark building on the Hill that had once been a center for good in the neighborhood. It was especially instrumental in helping Hill residents during the Great Depression of 1929. Stories of this type are bountiful in the history of the St. Lawrence Arts Center.
editor’s note: Above left is a photo of Ralph & Vanna Carmona, Hill residents, who have led the opposition to the construction of the St. Lawrence Arts Center, addition through the Concerned Citizens non-profit. Ralph was a recent unsuccessful candidate for Portland’s School Board and is on the board of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization. The MHNO has not taken a position on the expansion plans for the St. Lawrence Arts Center.