Smart Growth Awards

GrowSmart Maine is an independent statewide non-profit, funded by member contributions and private and public charitable grants.

Launched in 2018, GrowSmart’s Smart Growth Awards are designed to recognize all the diverse activities that contribute to smart growth, and to serve as real-life illustrations of the benefits it can bring.

The awards showcase the kind of projects, plans, and policies that support smart growth in all its diversity, whether it’s a plan for a walkable and inclusive village center, a development that is affordable and sustainably built, a successful new transit endeavor, or a community-supported adaptation to climate change that safeguards the built or natural environment.

The call for new awards goes out in June, and winners are announced at GrowSmart’s October summit.

Below are the 2020 winners – an amazing array of talented people and innovative projects that are contributing to a more sustainable and prosperous Maine.

2020 Winners

 Outstanding Project Award:

Port Property Management and Consulting Partners 82 Hanover Redevelopment, Portland

In 2017, the City of Portland released an RFP for the redevelopment of a former Public Works maintenance building at 82 Hanover Street, a brownfield site in a state of blight and disrepair. Port Property Management devised a plan to convert the site into a vibrant, pedestrian oriented, mixed-use commercial center.

Today, the project is fully occupied with a lively variety of local food, beverage, fitness, and service businesses…and all of the new social and economic activity at 82 Hanover has helped attract other  investments to the neighborhood.

Multiple new market-rate and affordable housing units, for rent and for sale, have recently been developed in the nearby vicinity and 200 additional units are in the planning phases for other adjacent lots. 82 Hanover is an example of how strong city leadership partnered with a visionary smart growth-oriented developer can provide the catalyst to transform an abandoned industrial block of town into a vibrant new neighborhood.

Demonstrable Commitment to Smart Growth

Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation

The Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with a broad range of public and private community stakeholders, designed and implemented a plan for the region; A Regional Master Plan, Strategic Regional Action Plans. The plan embodies the principles of Smart Growth and have already led to many tangible accomplishments: wayfinding infrastructure, free downtown wifi hotspots, a visiting artists’ colony, a summer music series, and broad-scale village beautification projects.

In the region’s village centers, these changes have already begun to catalyze increases in the number and variety of unique shops, restaurants, and businesses operating on ground floors, with residents living on upper floors.

Most recently, the organization acquired a major, in-town, waterfront property with a vision to form strategic partnerships and develop this property consistent with the Greenville Downtown Plan. Moosehead Lake Region EDC’s many accomplishments serve as a model of how smart growth and community vitality can be achieved in rural Maine communities.   

Outstanding Project Award: 

Great Falls Construction

Station Square, Gorham

Created out of a long-empty lumber yard, Station Square is a five-story, thirty-three residential, six commercial unit property located in the heart of Gorham’s thriving downtown village.

Now home to nearly fifty residents, Station Square is a hub for village entertainment, dining, commerce and more. The Station Square project transforms Gorham’s downtown village into a more walkable center while also enhancing and drawing upon the historical identity of Gorham as a train-centered community.

Station Square signals a reverse to the decades-long trend of leapfrog development and sprawl that has impacted so many of our communities and provides an excellent example of the rebirth of Maine’s traditional, walkable village center.

Outstanding Project Award:

Bangor Savings Bank Operations Center,

CWS Architects     

 The vision for Bangor Savings new campus was to invest in the local community and serve as a catalyst for restoring Bangor’s prosperity, both integrated with environmental responsibility,

The facility’s extensive renewable energy systems include 80 geothermal wells and 1,400-photovoltaic solar panels (one of Maine’s largest solar arrays). These technologies, together with efficient building materials a by approximately 80%.

The campus landscape was designed without physical barriers or fences to promote public access to the green space, and Bangor Savings implemented a program to allow local non-profits to benefit from parking revenues generated during events at the nearby Bangor Waterfront Pavilion.

The campus encourages wellness at work with an accessible gym, expansive rooftop patios, and daylight views visible from all workspaces, resulting in an employee-centric workplace that redefines the company’s culture.

The project is iconic of the smart growth that is possible when strong, Maine-based companies with a commitment to employees, community, and the environment make strategic investments Maine communities.

Demonstrative Commitment to Smart Growth:

Raise-Op Housing Cooperative

Founded in 2008 in response to housing challenges facing downtown Lewiston, the Raise-Op Housing Cooperative’s mission is to operate safe and affordable housing that’s democratically controlled by its members, on a non-profit basis, and according to the principles of respect, accountability, integration, solidarity, and equity.

Raise-Op currently owns and operates three apartment buildings, housing 50 resident-members in 15 households. In the coming years, Raise-Op is on track to double this resident population by expanding its portfolio through planned acquisition / rehabilitation as well as new construction projects.

As a Cooperative, Raise-Op resident members meet regularly to make budgetary and maintenance decisions. Members not only control the operation of their buildings, but also advocate for housing justice and a cooperative economy.

Raise-Op has participated in neighborhood improvements, such as developing a center for the Somali Bantu Community Association, a community vegetable garden, and a neighborhood pocket park. Raise-Op also partnered with the City of Lewiston in pursuit of a Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant from the Dept of Housing and Urban Development.

The Raise-Op Housing Cooperative provides a model for Maine communities not just in terms housing, but also by demonstrating how cooperative members can leverage the power of their housing community to effect meaningful community change.

Demonstrable Commitment to Smart Growth:

Mark Eyerman, Planner

For 35 years, Mark Eyerman has been a practicing planner in Maine. 

Working with over 30 Maine municipalities, coastal and inland, urban and rural; Mark has brought smart growth principles not only to these communities, but to the many others that have followed his example.

Decades before they became mainstream ideas, Mark Eyerman had anticipated and was expounding the principles of smart growth by cautioning communities to the perils of sprawl, and promoting the benefits of traditional, human-scaled development.

Throughout his career, Mark has been an effective change agent, applying innovative strategies such as Transfer of Development Rights, Proportional Density, Form-Based Codes, Transit Oriented Development, and Sustainable Stormwater Standard. These strategies are now in place in many Maine communities.

Excellent  planning takes shape slowly and incrementally and often escapes public awareness. But Mark’s Eyerman’s impact is felt across Maine, through smart growth principles put into tangible action.