Public Works Department Completes Downtown Improvement Blitz

The Public Works Department has been hard at work in downtown Calais getting the area in top shape for the International Homecoming Festival. Part of the department’s efforts have involved removing trees that were not doing well in the urban environment and replacing them with linden trees. (Photos by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson


No matter the time of year, the Calais Public Works Department is undoubtedly hard at work handling the demands of the shifting seasons and generally improving the livability of the community. In the past week, the department has been particularly engaged with a series of projects around the downtown area, in part in anticipation of the upcoming International Homecoming Festival.

The busiest intersection in town was the site of an intensive but short and successful operation to repair the city’s infrastructure recently. Workers from Public Works assisted the Water Department with a water main leak at the corner of Main and North Streets. The soggy situation was remedied by the deft installation of a clamp and the pavement was sealed back up as quickly as possible to keep traffic flowing.

Several trees that were previously planted in the downtown region – including around Triangle Park and at the Main Street corner of the Urban Moose – have been transplanted to the cemetery. The trees were not prospering in their downtown location, and Public Works Director Skeet Seelye believes they may acclimate better into the woodsy conditions of the cemetery lot. In place of the transplanted trees, linden trees were installed.

Linden trees are well-regarded around the world as ornamental trees, in part due to their symmetrical growth pattern. Harboring medicinal flowers, leaves and bark, and considered sacred in the old Slavic and Germanic traditions, linden trees have traditionally been gathering points for communities. Calais now has a number of linden trees in the downtown area, largely as a result of the efforts of the Public Works.

A final recent improvement to the downtown area is the painting of the crosswalks and the parking spaces. Per Seelye, all the parking areas between Church Street and Jo’s Diner have now been painted. “We’ll be working on the crosswalks around town next,” Seelye said, adding that he anticipated they would have them done by the end of the month.


With the International Homecoming Festival coming right up, Seelye’s department is in the process of preparing all necessary signage and arranging street barricades. Other projects that will be completed soon include paving and cleaning the catch basins – an important task to do before the cold weather once again arrives.