GUILFORD, Maine — A group of residents concerned about the lack of economic growth in the region has formed a partnership to improve the economic climate, among other projects.
Al Hunt and Sieferd “Stubby” Schultz of Guilford and Chris Reardon of Dover-Foxcroft recently formed nonprofit Guilford Economic Partnership Inc. and have wasted no time in moving forward.
“It was a desire to improve the area’s economy,” Hunt said Tuesday of the partnership. The effort isn’t meant to circumvent the Piscataquis County Economic Development Corp. but to assist it, he said.
Schultz said Tuesday the three men were sitting in his living room one day when the discussion arose about what they could do to help the economic development effort. Told by Hunt and Reardon that they needed to become a nonprofit organization first, Schultz donated the $750 to make it happen.
The trio, assisted by other mostly retired people, are now conducting a regional asset inventory to determine what the region has to offer. At the same time, research will be conducted to learn what the region previously had for businesses and why those businesses are no longer in operation, according to Hunt. He said the group will study the region’s strengths, its weaknesses, its opportunities and its threats.
Hunt said the result will be like building a city or town in a virtual world. The group’s recommendations will be presented to town officials for their comment or consideration.
The partnership also is engaged in a long-term recovery plan for disasters for the county. About 15 people are involved in the effort, which is expected to be funded by grants, according to Hunt. The effort, which is being aided by Tom Iverson, Piscataquis County’s Emergency Management Agency Director, involves advanced planning for economic redevelopment and individual assistance in the event of an emergency. Rather than develop a plan after an emergency occurs, Hunt said a plan would be in place and ready to implement.
The local food cupboard operated by Hunt will now fall under the partnership’s umbrella. The partnership will operate from the second floor of the Guilford Historical Society Museum.
“We just want to stimulate growth,” Schultz said.