City and state officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony along the Androscoggin River in Berlin Friday to mark the completion of a $7 million infrastructure project.
The project includes road reconstruction, new sidewalk, landscaping, a new storm water collection system and other improvements.
Mayor Paul Grenier says he wants to see more visitors to Berlin and rehabbing this roughly three-mile stretch of Route 16 that winds through the heart of the city was key.
“Berlin was known for the past 50, 60 years as a heavy manufacturing, smelly, community with polluted waterways,” Grenier said. “And when the mill closed, we had to overcome that reputation.”
Nancy Lacasse has lived in Berlin most of her life. She hopes the project will bring more economic activity to the city.
“People are knowing that there’s a lot more to do here,” Lacasse said. “And you don’t have to be an ATV enthusiast, you can be a kayaker or a hiker -- or any other activity -- year round.”
Burgess BioPower, which runs a biomass powerplant in Berlin at the site of the former Fraser Paper pulp mill, assisted in financing the project through a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) program.
Grenier says next up for improvements in Berlin will be a Riverwalk path constructed along the Androscoggin River.