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This week’s edition!

Letter to the Editor: Charter Commission picks familiar new name

To the Editor:

The Maine law on municipal consolidations stipulates that the Lewiston Auburn Joint Charter Commission is responsible for choosing the name of the new city. The Charter Commission has announced their decision: Lewiston-Auburn, Maine.

During the past two months, the Lewiston Auburn Joint Charter Commission (aided on a pro-bono basis by a team from Association for Consulting Expertise) engaged with voters in both cities to solicit ideas for the new name. The Commissioners participated in radio, TV and newspaper interviews to encourage citizens to suggest names. In all, over 1,000 submissions were received.

The Joint Charter Commission established criteria for reviewing names and selecting Lewiston-Auburn. The chosen name should:

Reflect the legacy of the two cities and honor the past;

Be visionary and future-focused;

Feel right;

Be easy to spell.

In the end, the decision came down to Great Falls and variations Lewiston-Auburn and Androscoggin.

Great Falls was appealing because it suggests a fresh start and reinforces the bold move the community is making. At the same time, there are any number of “Falls” cities in New England and several “Great Falls” elsewhere in the U.S.

We do straddle the banks of the beloved Androscoggin, but it’s a lot of letters to place in correct order.

Today, we call ourselves Lewiston-Auburn, and that is how we are known by outsiders. As one non-LA resident said to us, “You’ve always been Lewiston-Auburn to us. The merger will just make it official.”

Putting the two city names together is a clear signal that the new city is one rooted in a strong, shared heritage. We will go forward as one, building on our strengths and past successes. In addition, the transition will be easy. Business names will still be comfortable. The mail will still be delivered. There will be no confusion with drivers’ licenses or other documents.

Gradually and as easily as a comfortable pair of slippers, the new name will be a natural fit.

Gene Geiger, Chair

Lewiston and Auburn Joint Charter Commission

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