Annual Report


Events: We convene people to discuss familiar challenges and explore proven solutions.

Our 2016 Summit in Waterville featured Maine-grown Solutions with tours and workshops throughout downtown Waterville and Thomas College.  We hosted six smart growth forums from Bangor and Dover-Foxcroft, Falmouth and Lewiston to Hallowell and Rockland on walkability, river restoration, historic renovations of large mill buildings and smaller projects in our downtowns, Maine’s new forest economy and sea level rise.

Advocacy:  We advocate to remove barriers and provide resources for community action and impacts.

At the state level, we supported:

  • comprehensive policy for solar power and broadband infrastructure; (LD 1373 and LD 1399 held over)
  • streamlining local regulations for reuse of buildings as multi-unit housing (LD 805 Governor signed)
  • inclusion in the Communities for Maine’s Future program of local business loans to facilitate locating in the downtown (LD 1343 held over)
  • $5M each year in state dollars for the Local Government Fund to Encourage Regional Planning and Reorganization (LD 328 enabling language to be addressed in special session)
  • continuation of funding for downtown revitalization and the Maine Downtown Center in Maine’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
  • strengthening regional service center communities as the Land Use Planning Commission considers changes to its adjacency rules

We opposed a proposal to Allow Municipalities to Opt Not to Enforce the MUBEC (LD 1392 dead)

At the federal level, we joined Maine Preservation in rallying support for Sen Collins’ bill to strengthen the small projects portion of the Federal Historic (Preservation) Tax Credit and as a member of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, signed letters to support the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and essential services.

Community Engagement: We bring resources and expertise and facilitate local action.

Making Headway in the Katahdin Region supports six local projects connecting Medway, East Millinocket and Millinocket as this region adapts to significant economic and cultural changes.  Making Unity a Destination coordinates town-led strategies to encourage more visitors and to create hospitality amenities.

In our partnership with Maine Farmland Trust, we are encouraging municipalities to implement farm-friendly practices.  As a member of the Climate Table, GrowSmart Maine co-chairs the Energy Efficiency Committee and is preparing to engage municipalities in implementing strategies to reduce energy use.

We assist communities seeking short-term assistance with unique issues.  In Portland, we convened neighborhood associations and developers to create three “Bridging the Divide” tools to improve cross-sector communication. In Hallowell, we facilitated planning sessions to support businesses impacted by the 2018 reconstruction of Water Street.  Named “Down with the Crown”, this set of strategies devised for before, during and immediately after major road work will serve as a model for other communities.

Smart growth offers strategies to accommodate and even welcome growth in ways that make a community more resilient, the economy more sustainable while protecting the natural environment in its extraordinary beauty and productivity. Smart growth benefits span across Maine, for regions dealing with white-hot development pressure or tepid growth, as both scenarios threaten the quality of life that defines Maine.

For our part, GrowSmart Maine’s most lasting value is in drawing people together with a goal of sharing ideas for bettering their community. Just the opportunity to find oneself among neighbors and seeing you are not alone in wanting to support positive goals can be a game changer. We so often live within our own fears of speaking out that finding others with whom you share perspectives is a real uplift. Let’s work together to welcome opportunities while keeping Maine…Maine















See Board of Directors here.

Nominated for a second 3-year term:  Carol Morris, Kennebunk, Morris Communications; Ethan Boxer-Macomber, Portland, Anew Development

Nominated for a first 3-year term: Bryce Hach, Falmouth; Sally Stockwell, Portland, Maine Audubon

Thank you to our business and individual members, foundations and partners for your ongoing support.