Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 1172,
“An Act to Support the Maine Downtown Center”
April 22, 2013
Senator Goodall, Representative Berry and members of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future. My name is Nancy Smith and I live in Monmouth. I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description.
The Maine Downtown Center has proven its value to Maine in building strong communities across the state, relieving development pressure from rural areas and strengthening the economy by assisting communities in creating safe, welcoming and functional places in which to start, grow and sustain businesses from retail and hospitality to service sector and professional services and more.
It is important to note that the Maine Downtown Center is unique, in that it was created by statute in recognition of the value of downtown revitalization to all of Maine. In addition, it served the unique connector role as state coordinator for the National Main Street Center, providing a conduit for national resources to reach Maine communities.
I encourage the committee to support this legislation, as this level of funding is necessary to continue the core operations of this powerful program. Thank you for the opportunity to provide these remarks.