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Public forum scheduled to assist Livermore Community Center and local trails

-Pam Harnden, Sun Journal LIVERMORE – GrowSmart Maine (GSM) knows that communities with caring residents who are active in government and area organizations will be stronger in the future and is working to further promote those efforts. A public forum has been set for May 20th, with time and place still to be determined, to…

New group forms to support faster Internet in Maine

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff PORTLAND, Maine — A group of businesses, nonprofits and policymakers supporting broadband expansion have formed the Maine Broadband Coalition to research and lobby in favor of bills supporting increasing Internet speeds in Maine. The group includes a number of organizations, companies and state officials who have previously advocated for expanding…

Complete Streets: Maine Seeks to Make Roadways More People-Friendly

AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine has adopted a so-called "Complete Streets" policy. It's hoped the policy will lead to Maine roadways that are more friendly to people who aren't in cars. When Main Street in Bangor was last re-built it wasn't a "Complete Street." Who says so? State Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt. And he ought to…

GrowSmart partners with Canton, Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls, Wilton

LIVERMORE FALLS — One lesson learned over the past eight years is that for change to have a lasting impact, it has to come from the community, Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine, said Wednesday. “If there is no local buy-in, it's not going to work,” she said. GrowSmart has three staff members and…

ANOTHER VIEW: Far from sunk, Brookings report still inspiring action in Maine

We Mainers love our curmudgeons; sometimes just for the challenge of getting them to smile. John Frary recently celebrated his curmudgeonliness in his March 9 column, “Michaud’s grand plan harvested selectively from Brookings report.” In this piece, Frary says “Charting Maine’s Future,” the Brookings report, “seems to have sunk without a trace.” Oh, but that’s…

Lewiston-Auburn honored for pro-pedestrian paving policy

-Scott Taylor, Lewiston Sun Journal Cooperation by the Twin Cities is what pushed them to the front for a national transportation planning honor, according to a national planning advocacy group. Lewiston and Auburn were recognized Tuesday for having the fourth-best implementation of the Complete Streets policy out of 80 policies adopted in 2013 by Smart…

Young and old want urban living, according to Smart Growth group

LEWISTON — Urban growth advocates said Wednesday that generational demographics are pushing for the very things they've been advocating for the past decade — less suburban sprawl, better public transportation and jobs and economies built around creative economies. It's up to small communities to provide what those people want, according to panelists at GrowSmart Maine's…

Eastport Business to Convey 9th Annual Common Good Awards – Adds a Statewide Citation

The 2013 ceremony includes a new category, Shining a Statewide Spotlight Award. This award will highlight as well as thank a person, organization or agency that has a statewide mission and influence and has used its position, resources, expertise and broad reach to the benefit of the Eastport community.

“Since most winners are either residents of Eastport proper, or Washington County, keeping the winner of the “Shining a Statewide Spotlight Award” isn’t really a secret once the invitations are issued, “ said Godfrey. “We are totally thrilled this year to present our first annual award in this broader category to Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine”, said Godfrey.

“In awarding this tribute to Nancy Smith”, Godfrey continued, “we are also honoring the organization as a whole and thanking their board and supporters for all of their leadership and expert work. We’ll be more specific during the ceremony, yet invite the public to view Story #4 on the great video produced by GrowSmart Maine for their 2012 Summit. “ Godfrey concluded. The video, which will be playing throughout the May 5th celebration in Eastport can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/channels/growsmartmaine/51756710.

The public is invited to share in the celebration and granting of the Common Good Awards by attending the 9th Anniversary Open House, 2:00 -4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5th. Learn more about The Commons, located in the 1887 Mincton Building in Eastport’s historic downtown and offering a gallery featuring 100 area artisans, two glorious seaside rental condos and office space which houses Eat Local Eastport operations and Downeast Massage Therapy Services, by visiting www.thecommonseastport.com  Read more…

Our View: Form-based zoning a good place to start

Towns that want to establish village centers should look at what’s going on in Standish.

Government didn’t create the historic village centers that make many Maine towns so attractive. It was a range of economic forces, available transportation and a sense of community that led people to build homes, shops and offices close together, often near a church or green space. Read more…

Planners in Maine envision vibrant downtowns

From Fort Kent to Wells, town officials and planning groups are attempting to reinvigorate, preserve, and in some cases create downtown centers like the one Eastman describes. After 60 years of witnessing the spread of ubiquitous large-lot home developments, commercial strips and stores flanked by acres of parking lots, and the traffic-choked byways that connect them, towns are now looking inward for ways to distinguish their identities.

"That's called 'Anywhere USA,' " said Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine, a nonprofit that helps local towns reshape future development. While the modern strips serve a market demand, she said, "you've lost what makes a community unique."

Communities see livable, walkable villages and downtowns as a way to attract younger urban-oriented residents, improve efficiency and support local commerce. The challenge in many places will be balancing decades of single-purpose design that depends on automotive transportation with the growing desire of Americans to get out of their cars and walk city streets. Read more…