Annual Summit 2017

Wednesday October 18, 2017

First, Build a Bridge

Dana Warp Mill, Downtown Westbrook, Maine

Maine’s premier annual smart growth summit attracts leaders from across sectors and across the state to share experiences, build knowledge, and create connections. The all-day event features success stories and replicable models through interactive morning tours and workshops nested in the host community followed by relevant and engaging smart growth sessions with experts in the afternoon.

**This event has concluded. Please scroll down to see presentations, photos, and other follow-up materials from the day.

Featured presentations by

Jonathan Arnold, President & CEO, Arnold Development Group

When we Invest: Developer, Philanthropy & Community Perspectives from Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport, and Nationwide


John Robert Smith, Transportation for America Co-Chair, Smart Growth America

Placemaking in Rural Regions & the New Paradigm of Economic Development



Dana Warp Mill, Suite 210, 90 Bridge Street, Westbrook

Parking provided by Maine Medical in parking garage at 41 Dana Ct, Westbrook

8:00 – 9:00 AM  Registration, Networking Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30  Morning Sessions in downtown Westbrook – chose from five concurrent panel discussions and walking tours that explore the community.

Choice of Morning Session:

1. Making Community Art Happen

Walking Tour, Rain or Shine – Walking tour of new and future community art projects, initiatives, and organizations in Westbrook with a focus on clarifying and illuminating the public process that makes these projects possible and successful. Tour Lead by Caren Michel and Andy Curran of Westbrook Arts & Culture.

2. Neighborhood Sustenance: Connecting Food to People

Panel Presentation & Discussion – Join local entrepreneurs to explore the connections built through providing and sharing food. Learn what brings them, and keeps them, in a community, and how food businesses and local food can support local economies and community vibrancy. Speakers: James Tranchemontagne of Frog & Turtle, Steve Shaffer of Black Dinah Chocolatiers, Matt McInnis of North Spore Mushrooms, Sherie Blumenthal of St. Mary’s Nutrition and the Good Food Bus, and Lesley Heiser of Cultivating Communities and the Good Food bus.

3. Balancing Those Dam Interests

Walking Tour + Panel Presentation – The Presumpscot River runs through downtown Westbrook and provides opportunities for industry, power generation, outdoor recreation, and crucial habitat. Hear an inspirational story of the long-term efforts of the Friends of the Presumpscot to reclaim the river, restore historic fish populations, work with the municipality and community, and establish a first of its kind conservation corridor on the Presumpscot River.

Click to View: Presentation by Friends of the Presumpscot River

4. Creating Community for All

Panel Presentation & Discussion – Leaders in Westbrook will share their approach to creating a welcoming environment for immigrants and refugees and improving quality of life for all members of the community. Meet members of the community who are working together to connect and lend support for small businesses, community safety, and needed services. Presenters include members of the New England Arab American Organization, Sana Osman of Maine Access Immigrant Network, Chief of Westbrook Police Janine Roberts, and more.

5. Breathing New Life into Old Buildings

Walking Tour, Rain or Shine – Explore three historic buildings in downtown Westbrook that have undergone significant renovations. Speak to project managers, staff, and experts about the potential for energy efficiency, new uses, and funding opportunities for historic buildings in your community. Tour: Walker Memorial Library, My Place Teen Center, Bagala Windows.

10:30  Registration, Coffee & Light Breakfast, Reconvene after Morning Sessions


Dana Warp Mill, Suite 210, 90 Bridge Street, Westbrook

11:00  Welcome, brief business meeting and election of board members. Presentation: Reconnecting with Smart Growth

11:30  Models, Lessons of Village & Downtown Design: Wilton & Auburn

Maine towns and cities are making tough decisions about land use, transportation, and the built environment in their community centers every day. Rhonda Irish, Town Manager of Wilton, and Doug Greene, Urban Development Coordinator of Auburn, share their stories of thoughtful design, leveraging resources, and engaging local people to create more vibrant and livable communities.

Click to View: Presentation by Rhonda Irish of Wilton

Click to View: Presentation by Doug Greene of Auburn

12:00 PM   LUNCH

12:30  Making Smart Growth Local: Neighborhood Associations Can Bridge the Divide

GrowSmart Maine has been working with developers, municipal staff, and neighbors since 2016 to demystify the development process in Portland and empower more engagement and communication between stakeholders. Our local partners will share learnings, outcomes, and present an approach that can be used in cities and towns across Maine to make growth and development more inclusive and beneficial for the whole community. Jay Norris, President of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association, and Ian Jacobs, past president of the West End Neighborhood Association, join GrowSmart Maine Board Chair Carol Morris in this illuminating discussion of building bridges.

Click to View & Download three Bridging the Divide documents created by GrowSmart Maine in response to needs raised at 2016 GrowSmart Maine Panorama on Portland’s Growth:

Bridging the Divide in Portland: Bringing together developers, citizens, and government

1:00  When We Invest: Developer, Philanthropy & Community Perspectives from Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport and Nationwide

Jonathan Arnold, Arnold Development Group, with Community Members

Maine is fortunate to have unique historic buildings nested in downtowns across the state though many are vacant, underutilized, or in disrepair. Discover how those buildings, local engagement, and creative financing can be puzzled together for successful and environmentally sustainable redevelopment using the Mayo Mill in Dover-Foxcroft and 15 Sea Street, formerly Seacoast Cannery, in Eastport as case studies. Joining Jonathan Arnold will be Maggie Drummond-Bahl from Maine Community Foundation, and Linda Godfrey, Eastport community investor and partner, Dirigamus LLC.

Click to View: Presentation by Jonathan Arnold of Arnold Development Group

Click to View: Presentation by Linda Godfrey of Dirigamus LLC

1:45  Keeping Wealth Local: Innovative Ownership & Business Design

What to do when it’s time to retire? Or want to start something up in your hometown but lack the necessary resources? Explore innovative ownership models and transitions for small businesses through success stories from around Maine. Rob Brown of the Cooperative Development Institute will be joined by Samantha Haskell of Blue Hill Books and Susanne Ward of Rock City Roasters & Cafe in Rockland.

Click to View: Presentation by Rob Brown, Samantha Haskell, and Susanne Ward

2:15  BREAK

2:45  The Business of Solar

For some, the topic of alternative energy may be politically loaded yet investments in solar can make a lot of economic sense for residential, business, and municipal applications in Maine. Hear from Jordan Betts of the Wishcamper Companies about the creative way they invested in solar energy in Westbrook for their residential housing units in Portland. Kate Dempsey, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy in Maine, will discuss how she and her team overcame challenges to making rooftop solar a reality on their offices in Fort Andross, Brunswick. 

Click to View: Presentation by Jordan Betts of the Wishcamper Companies

Click to View: Presentation by Kate Dempsey of the Nature Conservancy of Maine

3:15  Bridging Historic Preservation, Farmland Conservation, Outdoor Recreation & the Arts

No need to choose between preservation of historic buildings and protecting natural and working landscapes. Learn how strategic partnerships ensure built and natural assets are protected and made available to the public with a presentation by Sarah Hansen of Maine Preservation with Annette Naegel of George’s River Land Trust in Cushing.

Click to View: Presentation by Sarah Hansen & Annette Naegel

3:45  Placemaking in Rural Regions & the New Paradigm of Economic Development

John Robert Smith, Transportation for America, Smart Growth America

The terrain of economic development and community building is shifting beneath us.  Not only must we recognize that this is happening, but we must learn how to play this paradigm shift to our communities’ advantage.

Click to View: Presentation by John Robert Smith of Smart Growth America

4:15  Observations & Ideas for Next Steps: A Conversation with Jonathan Arnold & John Robert Smith

Moderated discussion + audience Q&A


4:45-6:00 PM   Networking Reception with Refreshments & Discussion

Mast Landing Brewing Company, 920 Main St, Westbrook ME – Just across the pedestrian bridge from the mill, in downtown Westbrook.

Continuing Education Credits 

 AICP CM Credits pending for Planners

Real Estate Agents can request a certificate of attendance from the event organizers and submit documentation of sessions to the Real Estate Commission to be considered for CECs.

The event got great press coverage! Check out our News page for a link to WGME CBS 13 segment:

Visit our News Archives for Press & Media Links & Information


Click thumbnails below to view larger versions

These and many more photos can also be found on two Facebook Albums

(You do not need to have a Facebook Account to view photos)

Click to View: GrowSmart Maine 2017 Summit Photo Album

Click to View: GrowSmart Maine Summit Reception Photo Album by Maine Faces, Maine Magazine

2017 Summit Sponsored By                                           

Anew Development | Camden National Bank | rbouvier consulting | The Elms Bed & Breakfast | Waterstone Retail Development

2017 Summit is using green power courtesy of Maine Green Power

Maine Green Power