June 2021 Newsletter from GrowSmart Maine

Summer in Maine! Is there anything better? We love Maine in all its iterations and seasons, but there is something special about the golden hour of summer evenings that is downright magical.

Preserving Maine’s magic and unique quality of life, while supporting a sustainable future is GrowSmart Maine’s mission. And boy, have we been busy!

As June jets into July we wanted to share some jots about the work we have been doing and what we have planned to keep Maine … Maine. 

Read on for:

Summit Announcement!

Maine Smart Growth Awards Nominations are Open!

Two Webinars to Watch

Housing and Land Use Advocacy Update as Funding Decisions are Being Made

Supporting a Bold Federal Infrastructure


GrowSmart Maine’s 2021 Summit

Turning Climate Action into Economic Opportunity: Smart Growth Guidance for Maine Communities

Thursday, November 4, 2021 

Conflicts and opportunities abound right now for Maine’s diverse regions, iconic industries, and economies. In this environment, how will Maine ensure lasting positive impact from recent federal initiatives while activating our Climate Action Plan and 10-year economic plan? 

Smart growth strategies can help turn risks to opportunity. At GrowSmart’s 2021 Summit you will hear success stories and learn the essential steps your community can take to stay ahead.

Follow us on social media for updates about sponsorships, registration, and further details. 


2021 Maine Smart Growth Awards 

Nominations Now Open

We love the opportunity we have every year to highlight and honor the great work being done across the state as people work to strengthen communities, protect open spaces, and build opportunity for all Mainers. These awards showcase what is possible when people involve a broad range of local stakeholders and neighbors, take a long term view, and thoughtfully consider how the form and location of development can contribute to community life and increase the value of the places they serve.

Webinars to Watch

GrowSmart has a long and consistent history of hosting quality forums covering a broad array of Smart Growth topics affecting Maine Communities.

We have recast our line-up of forums to an online format. While this change was necessitated by COVID-19, we are excited by the potential to better extend the reach and accessibility of our forums across Maine.

This past week, we hosted Housing Choices For A Well-Rounded Community, drawing on data gathered by Kennebec Valley Council of Governments and interpreted by presenter Jeff Levine of Levine Planning Strategies.

If you missed it, or want to re-watch, you can do so via our You-Tube Channel.


Policy Matters is a series offering guided discussions from a policy, not a political, perspective into some of the biggest issues confronting Maine.

The series sidesteps the superficial exchange of talking points so common in discussion and debate these days and gets to the foundational issues and context that frame some of the most compelling challenges we face in Maine.

This past week Policy Matters had Carol Coultas, Press Herald business projects editor, moderate an in-depth discussion with Tara Williams, head of the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, which promotes high-quality early learning for children, birth through age 8; Cynthia Murphy, who leads CEI’s Child Care Business Lab, which helps launch child care centers; and Jim Clair, business executive and former chair of the Maine Economic Forecasting Commission and an early champion of early education.

Much thanks to Kennebec Savings Bank for their support in hosting!


Housing Choices Legislation in the 130th Legislature;

So far!

We’ve arranged the bills based on topical area, and for each we noted its current status; either already/about to become law, or awaiting funding. These funding decisions are happening now, with decisions to be made in time for the return of the Legislature on June 30th to address final budgetary issues including the Governor’s proposed changes to the biennial budget, bond proposals, and funding of bills and studies.

Read the rest of our advocacy update on our website: 

Invest in Maine Jobs

We recently joined with more than 70 other Maine businesses, organizations, and municipalities to call for a stronger federal infrastructure plan that supports Maine people, our economy, and environment. Investing in our aging infrastructure and a clean energy future will create new good-paying jobs, reduce harmful pollution, build healthier communities, and more. You can see the letter of support and stories from Mainers talking about how a broad federal infrastructure plan will benefit Maine people at investinmainejobs.org.

A Message About Our Work

Your Financial Support Makes All the Difference!

We know that as a GrowSmart Maine supporter, you share our belief that lasting prosperity in Maine is based on rural, suburban, and urban communities striving to achieve:

  •         a strong sense of identity,
  •         equity and overall well-being,
  •         right sized and well-maintained infrastructure,
  •         protected natural environment and climate,
  •         sustainable working forests, farms, and waterfronts,
  •         and an inclusive and effective civil engagement.

GrowSmart Maine is supporting these efforts through our events, advocacy, and community engagement.

  • We are collaborating with partners in the Southern Kennebec County Working Communities Challenge to increase access to affordable housing, beginning with the debut of our Housing Choices webinar on June 22nd.
  • Our updated Community Guides can be found on our website under “Our Work.”
  • Smartinis networking events are planned for this summer
  • Our advocacy is making a difference in Augusta, as we support bills that expand housing options and increase planning resources for state, municipal and regional efforts to strengthen our communities. Through the Maine Broadband Coalition, internet policy has also been a focus of our advocacy, with new terms such as “pole attachment” and “symmetrical connections” part of the narrative.
  • We are sponsoring the Press Herald’s Policy Matters year-long series of guided discussions from a policy, not a political, perspective for some of the biggest issues confronting Maine.
  • GrowSmart Maine’s Nov 4th Summit will round out our year’s work. We will soon offer sponsorship opportunities for this major event.

While Maine’s abundant outdoors has sustained us through the past year, now eateries and entertainment venues are reopening, and mask requirements are being lifted. Some workers and entrepreneurs are returning to offices and workspaces. Perhaps we can breathe a collective and cautious sigh of relief and slowly create an even better “normal”.

While we acknowledge that your business and life may be far from normal, we ask that you support GrowSmart Maine so it can continue its work.

Please support our work by becoming a member, renewing your membership, or making a donation today.

We thank you for your continued interest in and support of the important work that GrowSmart Maine is doing. Thank you for helping to keep Maine … Maine