Study: Old Town well-positioned for business growth

Posted Sept. 22, 2010, at 9:40 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — A market feasibility study prepared for the city found that it is well-positioned for business attraction and growth.

“We have always known that our city has a lot of unique characteristics that make it a desirable place to live and work,” City Manager Peggy Daigle said of the study by PolicyOne Research Inc. of Scarborough and Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“But it’s important to have solid findings to back up what we believe to be true, and allow us to put plans in place to prepare Old Town for new growth and new business, giving us a bright outlook for the future,” she said.

The study looked at the possibility of creating a business-industrial park adjacent to the University of Maine and across the street from Old Town Fuel and Fiber. City officials envision the park as starting at Penny Road and connecting with the campus’s hilltop area.

While the study found that the region’s economy isn’t strong enough on its own to support another business park, Old Town’s location and partnerships make the idea a valuable one, according to a press release issued by the city.

The study specifically cites the city’s strong partnership with UMaine and proximity to campus as assets that will allow a business park in Old Town to stand out and likely succeed in attracting new businesses.

The study noted that several of UMaine’s targeted technology sectors — including bioscience, science and engineering, energy and environment and information technology — continue to fare well, presenting strong opportunities for business possibilities in Old Town.

Mayor David Mahan said the results are encouraging.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to look too far into the future when the state and the country are still experiencing economic struggles,” he said.

“But the worst thing that we could do right now is do nothing. It’s vital to look to the future and look at capitalizing on our strengths to better position ourselves going forward,” he said.

City officials noted that the study is an initial step in developing such a business park and that further planning is needed.

“It’s going to be a lengthy process but with patience and motivation, this community will be the ultimate beneficiary of this investment,” Daigle said.

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