The Kennebec River was once the economic driving-force for Skowhegan. Now, town officials want to bring that back.
“Run of River is a proposed Whitewater park in downtown Skowhegan,” says Town Manager and Run of River Chairman, Greg Dore.
The hope is to get the 800 cars that pass through Skowhegan a day to stop and tube, raft and kayak down the river.
“It give us another avenue for people to enjoy Skowhegan, spend money in Skowhegan and come back to Skowhegan,” says Jeff Hewett, Director of Economic Development.
It’s estimated the river could give 2 million dollars a year in revenue and it’s paved the way for other projects around town. Like new hiking and walking trails on the riverbank. Downtown business owners like the idea of more foot-traffic.
“I think it’s great, using the river for recreation and not just you know the log driving days are obviously over would be great to draw people to town,” says Bankery owner, Matt Dubois.
But not everyone thinks the water park is good use of resources. Jim Finely lives on the river’s edge.
“I think it’s a waste of money and a waste of time. I think money could be spent better than putting it down here in the river,” Finely said.
Hewett says the money, which is tax revenue, for Run of River is already set aside.
“That funds can only be used for economic development projects,” Hewett explained.
The project to get tourists to stop in Skowhegan will cost nearly 5 million dollars.
“If we could tap into that we’re hoping that you know we could attract people to downtown Skowhegan to make us a destination,” Greg Dore, said.