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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

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  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…

Bucksport Chamber honors local leaders, businesses and heroes

BUCKSPORT — Local businesses can’t survive without support from local shoppers.

That was one of the main themes at the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards event, held last Thursday night at the Alamo Theatre.

“The retailers can’t be here if you’re not buying stuff,” said keynote speaker Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine.

Smith described shopping locally as “the most basic economic development plan for a downtown.” Read more…

How will Maine build a workforce for a prosperous economic future?

Bangor Daily News Editorial
Posted Jan. 04, 2013, at 3:41 p.m.

Maine suffers from a “skills gap” that stymies economic growth because employers struggle to find trained in-state candidates to fill job vacancies. The most recent Measures of Growth in Focus report, issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council and Maine Development Foundation in March 2012, indicates that the state has made scant progress in areas tied directly to improving the skills of its workforce. Among the areas for concern are per capita income, an aging workforce, low college graduation rates, inconsistent investment in research and development, gender-income disparity and overall wellness…The committee also must push policymakers to explore how, with limited government resources, Maine can compete in a global market that, as Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution told a GrowSmart Maine conference in October, has replaced the consumption-based economy of the late 20th century with a new model “fueled by innovation, powered by low carbon, driven by exports and rich with opportunity.” Read more…

Portland area now accounts for most of state’s economy. What happens to the rest of Maine?

Posted Nov. 23, 2012, at 12:54 p.m.

The economic shift to Maine’s south has become so pronounced during the last decade that Greater Portland now generates more than half the state’s economic output and one-third of its jobs, as the economies of other Maine cities have been relatively flat and rural regions decline.

While conceding Portland’s geographic advantage, economists say Maine’s largest city offers lessons for other parts of the state.  Read more…

Maine Voices: GrowSmart summit will be mindful of state’s ‘quality of place’

Daniel Hildreth, Portland Press Herald, Oct 19, 2012

On Tuesday, GrowSmart Maine will convene a statewide summit at the Augusta Civic Center. GrowSmart’s past summits have been attended by hundreds of engaged citizens from a broad spectrum of government entities, businesses, and nonprofits from around the state.

This year, the summit follows GrowSmart’s recent release of Charting Maine’s Future: Making Headway. It’s a progress report on recommendations from the original Charting Maine’s Future, commissioned by GrowSmart and conducted by the Brookings Institution (the “Brookings report”). Research for the Brookings report was overseen by Bruce Katz, vice president and director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program. Bruce has written a foreword to the update and will be giving the morning keynote address at the summit.  read more…

GEORGE SMITH: Some success, many shortfalls since 2006 Brookings Report

George Smith – Kennebec Journal.  10.17.12

If Maine wants to grow — smartly or any other way — then a new look back at the 2006 Brookings Report, “Charting Maine’s Future,” is essential.  That report, prepared for Grow Smart Maine, outlined a strategy that generated excitement all over Maine and gained widespread support from Kittery to Fort Kent.

Ah, but was the plan implemented? Good question!  Read more…