Maine is Making Headway in promoting sustainable prosperity and quality places

PORTLAND: GrowSmart Maine released Charting Maine’s Future – Making Headway, an update to the 2006 Brookings Report, Charting Maine's Future, at a press conference today at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine.  Judy East, Executive Director of Washington County Council of Governments and member of the Advisory Team for the report, joined the conference via the University’s polycom system from Calais, “GrowSmart Maine continues to support and reinforce good work across the state, encouraging us to celebrate successes rather than complain about the challenges.  There are clear successes to be shared and the eleven highlighted in Making Headway just scratch the surface of the good things happening for our economy, communities and environment all across the state. “

In 2006, GrowSmart Maine brought the Brookings Institution to Maine and called together people from across the state.  We asked, “What do you love about this place?”  We then gathered the information needed to define how we could grow our economy and increase per capita income without losing those things we value.  Charting Maine’s Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places resulted from these conversations and research.

The Brookings Institution, a nationally recognized, nonpartisan think tank, confirmed our notion of what’s right about Maine–and that it is our brand.  And the Brookings Institution showed us what we could do to protect that brand as we build our economy.

Charting Maine’s Future called for bold investments in our economy, our communities and the natural and working landscapes that surround us. It outlined a three-part strategy for promoting sustainable prosperity:

  •  Invest in a place-based, innovation-focused economy;
  •  Trim government to invest in Maine's economy and to finance tax reductions; and,
  •  Support the revitalization of Maine's towns and cities, while channeling growth to reduce development strain on rural lands.

Dr. Jack Kartez, founding Board Member of GrowSmart Maine said, “The work associated with Charting Maine's Future must be viewed as a continuing, open and fact-based effort to understand how to sustain and enhance what we care about in Maine.”

GrowSmart Maine recognized the need for an update to the original report and produced Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway to those who, like us, are working toward this shared vision.  The purpose of this update is to recognize the successes, hold up the lessons learned, and empower Mainers to keep doing good work.  “GrowSmart Maine interviewed nearly 70 people as we looked to measure results from the original report.  The overall theme was that process matters.  Results are achieved with strong, broad and consistent support developed with open and patient process.  Maine has made headway, particularly in areas where this has been the case", said Board Member Bonnie Pothier. Former Board Chair Daniel Hildreth spoke to the recommendations in Charting Maine's Future – Making Headway; "For Maine to be all it can be, GrowSmart Maine recommends continued pursuit of the goals outlined in the original Charting Maine's Future – seek efficiencies in state and local government, and sustain investments in Maine's quality of place and innovation economy."

This update forms the foundation of Summit 2012, October 23, at the Augusta Civic Center.  Board Chair Kevin Bunker invites you to join us. "The 2012 Summit is an opportunity for both our old friends and those new to GrowSmart but who care passionately about the health of Maine's communities, economy, and natural landscapes, to connect, share, be inspired, and take action. See you there."