In 2007, GrowSmart Maine led the creation of the Maine Downtown Coalition, a collection of non profit organizations, town and city officials, Main Street programs, business people and others dedicated to revitalizing Maine communities and fostering redevelopment of some of our most unique assets: our historic Main Streets and downtown districts.
Main Street, Farmington
We strive to provide resources and tools to help protect and enhance town and city centers, and to reach out to a diverse group of allies including conservationists, businesses, government, and many others.
Whether you live in Maine or you’re a visitor, you know that one of the things that makes this state unique is the proliferation of historic downtown districts, Main Streets, villages, and our small-town character. From Fort Kent to Kittery, these jewels are the centers of economic, cultural and social activity, and the very heart of the community.
Over time, we’ve built up a proliferation of rules and regulations that discourage investment in these special areas, and increasingly people, investment and development are being pushed to surrounding rural and suburban communities.
This presents several challenges for Maine:
- Empty storefronts and vacant Main Street buildings can mean a loss of community vitality and economic activity;
- It costs more to serve a dispersed population because we are forced to build redundant infrastructure and provide services to a larger area. The cost of government in fast growing rural and suburban communities tends to rise as population increases - particularly when a town passes the 2,500-3,500 mark;
- Increased driving from the proliferation of auto-dependent development outside our town centers increases greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change;
- Sprawling development and the loss of community vitality both threaten the quality of this place - our natural landscape and unique livable communities - that are part of our unique competitive advantage: the Maine ‘brand.’
What are we working for?
We are joining forces to help protect and enhance our unique communities across the state. Our goals are:
- Build a broad-based coalition to advocate for Maine’s historic downtowns, Main Streets, village centers and surrounding neighborhoods;
- Remove barriers to successful redevelopment of our downtowns and Main Streets;
- Promote investment in these special places to preserve and enhance the Maine ‘brand';
- Address emerging threats to the vitality of our towns and cities;
- Educate, advocate and train citizens to incorporate historic preservation tools and techniques into downtown vitality efforts; and,
- Make it easier for people to live, work, go to school, visit, shop, and worship in our town and city centers.
What can you do?
Join us! Please sign on as a supporter of our coalition, add your voice to the growing chorus for the revitalization of Maine’s towns, Main Streets, and cities! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207.699.4330 to sign on to this effort today. Click here to download a PDF description of the Maine Downtown Coalition.
Maine State Planning Office
Planning for Downtown Development
Supporting Local Businesses
Maine Office of Community Development
Maine Downtown Center
Downtown Research and Development Center