Maine Smart Growth Awards

Share YOUR smart growth plans and projects

awards designed to recognize the diverse activities that contribute to smart growth and serve as real life illustrations of the benefits it brings

What do you call a place with a thriving, walkable downtown surrounded by productive farmland and forestland? A place that provides efficient public infrastructure: roads, water, sewer, even broadband? These are the signs of a community whose residents care how growth affects their town – and who use smart growth principles to shape it.

Smart growth is a common sense concept that helps communities welcome growth while maintaining the historic and natural beauty of our state.

But this concept is sometimes hard to explain, and that’s why GrowSmart Maine is launching the first annual Maine Smart Growth Awards.

Learn more here on our ‘What is Smart Growth?’ page

These awards are designed to recognize the diverse activities that contribute to smart growth, and also serve as real life illustrations of the benefits it can bring.

The awards will showcase the kind of projects, plans, policies and people that support smart growth in all its diversity, whether it’s a plan for a walkable, inclusive village center, a development that is affordable and sustainably built, a community-supported bike and walking path, or a person whose career exemplifies the impact of smart growth.

Charlie Colgan, former state economist; Kate Dempsey, executive director of Maine’s Nature Conservancy; and Evan Richert, former head of state planning and Orono community planner, agreed to judge the 2018 awards.

Stay tuned for more information about the 2019 Awards!

2018 Award Winners

Brian Kent
Lifetime Achievement – 
Contributions to Land Use Planning in Maine

Brian Kent’s work in Maine over 40 years demonstrates a strong commitment to smart growth. In 1976, he was responsible for the first Comprehensive Plan for LURC. He authored the award-winning Land Use Handbook. He organized the first major downtown conference in Maine, MainStreets Future, and as a consultant, he produced over 30 downtown plans as well as co-authoring several important publications illustrating GrowSmart principles.



Denis Lachman and Kiya Smith
502 Deering Center – Outstanding Project

502 Deering Center is a mixed-use project in the heart of Deering Center, which demonstrates that it is possible, on a limited budget, to successfully reintroduce the historic form of a four-story mixed-use building on a compact lot. This concept has proven practical, flexible and attractive for more than a century and a half.

The project features two ground-floor businesses, a ground-floor live/work studio, six total apartments on two upper floors, a village pocket park, and onsite parking.  Construction was                                                                                    completed in spring 2018.


Colby College, President David Greene
Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons – Outstanding Project  
Accepted by Paul Ureneck & Brian Clark

Colby College’s ambitious plan to revitalize downtown Waterville began with a 102,000 square foot Downtown Commons facility, which yields newly created residential units for 200 students (and faculty), provides additional education space and
public/community civic meeting areas, along with new commercial-retail spaces on the first floor of Main Street.

With widened sidewalks, added streetscape amenities, and an integrated Complete Streets design, Colby’s plan minimizes new auto traffic and focuses on diversifying transit options. This includes implementing a new jitney shuttle between the Downtown Commons, Colby College, and the downtown. As 60% of students have no car, most will walk, bike, and use the shuttle.

Windham Town Council
21st Century Downtown Zoning – Outstanding Public Policy
Accepted by Ben Smith of North Star Planning & Tom Bartell of Town of Windham

With few exceptions, new residential development in the downtown was specifically not allowed under Windham’s old code, as it was feared it would take up too much valuable
real estate that could be used for commercial purposes. The new ordinance allows many types of residential housing, creating more options for mixed-use and local businesses and extending the active hours of the downtown.

Changing the rules for how growth takes place in North Windham means new development can improve the downtown’s economic viability, making it more attractive, diverse and walkable. This will allow Windham’s commercial strip development to evolve into a new type of downtown for Windham and the region.

Portland Housing Authority 
Strategic Vision Plan- Outstanding Smart Growth Plan

Portland Housing Authority’s vision plan lays out a 20-year strategy to redevelop 1970s-era public housing into new, more integrated neighborhoods – ultimately doubling the city’s public housing portfolio with projects that vastly improve the urban design and energy efficiency of the properties. A key component of the plan is replacing the auto-oriented design of the current developments with mixed-use, higher-density buildings that prioritize pedestrian, bike and transit access. Parking lots, in particular, are targeted as priority development sites. The strategy also emphasizes the importance of increasing economic integration by adding new market-rate apartments mixed seamlessly with affordable homes.

City of Portland’s Public Works and Planning & Urban Development Departments
Franklin Street Redesign- Outstanding Smart Growth Plan
Accepted by Jeremiah Bartlett, City of Portland, and Markos Miller, Franklin Reclamation Authority

The Redesign Plan is a phased vision that will restore Franklin Street as a vibrant city-street integrated into the urban fabric. The plan converts an auto-centric design into a multi-modal corridor, improving safety and accessibility for all users. It creates the opportunity for redevelopment of land for housing and mixed-use development near existing infrastructure and services, turning a space to drive through into a place where people live, work, and recreate. The Franklin Redesign process began in reaction to a plan to widen Franklin Street. Neighborhood organizations and community groups formed the Franklin Reclamation Authority, which facilitated a consensus-based workshop in 2006. Outcomes of this workshop were shared with the City of Portland, which sought funding to create a more detailed plan.  Public engagement continued as a cornerstone of the study.


See more information about the projects in this slide presentation from the 2018 Summit: 2018 Maine Smart Growth Awards