PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A plan to sell a downtown park to a hotel developer is now just one vote away from becoming a reality.
Rockbridge Capital, the company building a Westin hotel at the site of the former Eastland Hotel, wants to buy Congress Square Park and build an adjoining event center on the property.
A city council committee voted Wednesday night to send the sale to the full city council. The committee approved the sale three-to-one, even though the majority of the people who spoke during public comment were opposed to the plan. The councilors who voted in favor say they have heard from lots of people through emails and conversations who want the city to sell the land.
If the council approves the plan, Rockbridge will buy about two thirds of the park to build the event center. The rest would remain public space. Critics of the plan expressed concern over the notion of selling public space to a private developer. Supporters believe the event center would increase tourism in the city and clean up what many consider to be a failed space.
The full city council will vote on the plan September 9th.
The city is still looking for input from residents on their visions for Congress Square Park. You can contact them through a website, by taking a survey, or on Twitter by using the hashtag #CongressSquare.