GLENBURN, Maine — The town is embarking on a seven-month planning process to identify strategies the community can pursue to attract and support businesses, according to Town Manager Michael R. Crooker. “Our goal is to strengthen the town’s tax base and create income and job opportunities for our residents,” Crooker said in a press release.
The newly formed Glenburn Economic Development Advisory Committee will oversee the process. The group, created by the Town Council last year, includes Dana Dahlgren, James Tower, Blake Fryer, Michael Cote, Katie Gaudette, Brenda Moody and Ernest Phillips.
The town has retained Ron Harriman Associates of Bangor to guide the planning process. The firm has more than 25 years of experience with local development efforts, and has prepared housing and economic development plans for several area communities. “Our approach to working with communities relies heavily on gathering as much input as we can from two groups, local businesses and the people who live in the community,” Ron Harriman said.
“We’ll start in January with a resident survey that will be mailed to all households with questions that will help us understand where people shop, where they work, what kinds of stores and services they would like to see and what are economic development goals for the community. Also included are questions to assist the town in identifying and addressing housing related issues,” Harriman said.
A separate business survey will be sent to all Glenburn firms, asking owners about their current activities, plans for growth and how the town might support them, and what they would like to see for business development activities and assistance in the town. Other research activities will include a focus group meeting with local business owners, an assessment of retail sales using sales tax data, a review of Glenburn’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan and zoning ordinances to see how “business-friendly” they are, and an evaluation of local business financing options.
In addition, the strategic plan will include an assessment of the market for business-industrial park space in Greater Bangor and whether any location in Glenburn might be suitable for such a park.
Last, the study will explore how Glenburn might be able to compete for new businesses with other towns in the region.
“We expect to have a clear action plan for economic development by the time this process is completed,” Crooker said. The town should have a draft plan ready for review by residents and the council by the end of June.