June First Friday Art Walk to Include Entertainment & Partial Shut Down of Congress Street

Peter Monro, co-founder of KeepPortlandLivable at Meeting Today

Peter Monro, co-founder of KeepPortlandLivable at Meeting Today

Future Home of PACE?

Future Home of PACE Center?

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,746)

The Circus Conservatory of America will perform once again during  the upcoming June First Friday Art Walk that takes place on June 6th.  This time the performance will take place on Monument Square in downtown Portland according to Greg Mitchell, the City’s Director of Economic Development at this afternoon’s Creative Portland meeting at city hall.  Other types of entertainment and activities are planned for that weekend to  Celebrate Portland weekend.  The three-day weekend will need the approval of the City Council this coming Monday, April 7th evening before it can move forward.

It’s anticipated that a part of Congress Street will be closed down as it was last December for a similar event.  This will provide opportunities for other types of entertainment to happen in that area, although details are still being worked out and are not yet available.

On Saturday, June 7th tours of the working waterfront will be available to the public.  There will be an Old Port Scavenger Hunt and  music and entertainment in some of the Portland parks and squares.  The waterfront tours  event is considered a bridge to the annual Old Port Festival which occurs on Sunday, June 8th.  “We want to encourage people to stay in Portland the entire weekend and we hope this will help,” said Mitchell of the Working Waterfront Tours scheduled for June 8th.

Another matter on the Creative Portland agenda today involved the creation of an arts and technology start-up in the Bayside section of Portland.  The PACE Center, the Portland Arts and Creative Enterprise Center, could occupy two Public Service buildings that have outgrown their facilities on  Hanover Street.   Creative Space, a spin-off of Creative Portland,  views this as a prime location in which to train future “techies” to meet the needs of private industry in the greater Portland area.

While the University of Southern Maine, Portland, is currently under-going a very public assessment of its academic program through budget cuts to its faculty, it’s expected that it would become a partner in the new Pace Center.  Tom Blackburn, project manager for Creative Space, appeared before the Housing and Community Development Committee late last month asking the Committee not to sell the two buildings on  Hanover Street until Creative Space presents them a more detailed proposal in several months for the properties; known as the “General Store” and the Traffic Operations building. Blackburn is meeting with Jeff Levine, Director of the Planning Office, and others next week for a “conceptual” meeting.

Also noteworthy was the appearance of Peter Monro, co-founder of the non-profit KeepPortlandLivable that opposes the construction of Midtown, a large apartment complex scheduled to be constructed over a period of years.  Monro’s group has filed a law-suit against the city to prevent the construction.  “It will become clear eventually why I am here,” Monroe said to mhn.com  He also attended the first meeting of the St. Lawrence Arts Center at the planning board at the invitation of the Ralph Carmona, of Concerned Citizens, a group trying to stop the building of the proposed addition to the Arts Center on Munjoy Hill.