Congress Square Redesign

Aerial View

The Congress Square Redesign project is a large-scale renovation of a major public open space in the heart of the Portland Arts District.  There are two parts to this project – the redesign of the public open space known as Congress Square, and the creation of a public artwork to be integrated and located in the new Square design.  This project has a high level of community interest and participation - neighborhood organizations, residents, nonprofits, arts organizations, and the business community have worked with the City of Portland for more than five years to develop a vision for the Congress Square Redesign.  The project is changing the face of Portland by turning an underused, car-dominated intersection into a vibrant public urban amenity.  One of a series of urban squares along Congress Street, the main street of the downtown, Congress Square will become a focal point for cultural activities and community programs, contribute to the economic vitality of the city, and improve the quality of life for Portland residents, workers, and visitors. 

Vision Statement: Congress Square is a high quality, distinctive urban space that epitomizes the Arts District while remaining accessible and inviting to all. Year-round, the Square provides a welcome break in the dense, historic district street wall where one encounters a range of activities including events and installations that celebrate local arts and culture, and fosters spontaneity, informal gathering, and fun.  As a gateway intersection, the redesigned Congress Square places priority on the pedestrian experience and safety while accommodating all transportation modes in an efficient manner.  

Currently (as of 2017), the redesign project is in the Schematic Design phase.  The project partners - the City of Portland, Friends of Congress Square Park, and Portland Public Art Committee -  are working with landscape design firm WRT and artist Sarah Sze to develop design concepts for the intersection, park, and public art commission.

See project updates and materials below.

SCHEMATIC DESIGN wrapping up (MAy 30, 2017)


The final schematic design materials for Congress Square Redesign can be viewed here.  Stay tuned to this webpage or subscribe to the interested parties list to get updates on the project - Design Development phase will begin later in 2017.  To be added to the "interested parties" email list send an email to Project Manager Caitlin Cameron at ccameron@portlandmaine.gov.

Public Meeting #3 on Schematic Design (March 16, 2017)


Presentation materials from the  third and final schematic design public meeting for Congress Square Redesign can be viewed here
We had 60 people in attendance and recorded 7 online comments.  Final schematic design package including cost estimate and phasing plan will be submitted by design team WRT at the end of April.
Thank you to our host, the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel.

Public Meeting Schedule (January 2017)


City staff will present the Congress Square materials to the following city boards/committees for feedback and review:
Disability Advisory Committee: Wednesday, January 4, 11am (Room 24)
Historic Preservation Board: Wednesday, January 4, 6:45pm (Room 209)
Parks Commission: Thursday, January 5, 5:00pm (Room 24)
Bicycle Pedestrian Committee: Monday, January 9, 5:30pm (Room 209)
Planning Board: Tuesday, January 10, 4:30pm (Council Chambers)
Land Bank Commission: Thursday, January 12, 5:00pm (Room 24)