Newport Riverwalk

In 2002 the Town of Newport partnered with Federal and State agencies for the removal of the Main Street Dam and for the construction of a fish ladder around the North Street Dam. This was done to allow ocean run fish species to return to their natural habitat. During these two projects it became abundantly clear that 800 feet of river would need to be re-aligned, back to its original condition, having been diverted 100 years prior. The removal of the Main Street Dam and the river re-alignment created an opportunity to utilize land once covered by the old impediment. Examination of this area revealed a Native American encampment believed to be over 3,000 years old.

Coplon Associates, Landscape Architecture and Planning were hired through a planning grant from the Office of Economic and Community Development to design a new Riverwalk. Their plan was completed in 2004 and included the estimate of $500,000 to complete the project. The Selectmen strongly supported the idea but funding became a real concern for any projects classified as "extra" . At our Town Meeting held in March the residents voted to fund the Riverwalk pathway up to $25,000.  Through Yankee Ingenuity, including community volunteers, our Public Works Department and generous donations from local contractors, the Riverwalk Park was constructed and completed for less than $35,000!

Almost immediately citizens started using the Riverwalk, taking advantage of the privacy and our natural environment while still in the middle of town!  LED street lighting was installed making the park accessible in the evening.  

The Riverwalk, commencing at Witham Park located at the intersection of Main and Water streets, proceeds in a northerly direction on the west side of the Sebasticook River and ends just before the Center street bridge, a total distance being 800 feet. 

From 2004 to 2014 the town continued with improvements in this area.  Thanks to the hard work of the Newport Public Works Department and many volunteers, this area evolved into Newport's most picturesque park.  In 2017 we held our first annual Riverwalk Festival.  The day's festivities started with a parade down Main Street after which the celebration commenced in the park.  From the beginning the Riverwalk Festival committee wanted the entire event to be free for all children and be held on the first Saturday of August every year.  This celebration was an instant hit and occurred in 2018 and 2019 with greater success each year. Public works was once more called up to build a storage building to house festival and park equipment.  Plans are underway for the fifth annual event.  Music events and live dramatic performances in the park created the need for a pavilion to hold such activities. Fundraising was well underway pre-COVID and we are hopeful that construction will begin in the late summer of 2021.  See you at the Festival!!