BELFAST — Cheers echoed through the Somerset Masonic Lodge in downtown Skowhegan recently as 150 downtown revitalization leaders welcomed six new communities to the Maine Downtown Center’s growing family of commercial centers seeking revitalization. The announcements were made during a lunch rally on Day Two of the Vital Maine Communities Conference, presented in partnership with Maine Preservation.
Belfast became the newest Main Street Maine community to receive the designation, joining eight other communities statewide. “Our nine Main Street communities join ranks with hundreds of professionally managed downtown programs across the country affiliated with the National Trust Main Street Center. These special places are intent on preserving their historic character while revitalizing their local economies,” said Roxanne Eflin, Maine’s state coordinator with the National Main Street Center and senior program director of the Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center. Our Town Belfast, the downtown-focused nonprofit organization, will receive a variety of resources, including an in-depth personalized Resource Team report and a multiyear package of training services valued at $30,000.
Stonington, Bar Harbor, Eastport, Houlton and Van Buren also were announced as the 2011 additions to the Maine Downtown Network. These five communities bring to 17 the number of downtowns in the network representing every county in Maine. They will receive guidance, resources and professional training in the art and science of downtown revitalization though the Maine Downtown Center staff, the Center’s 24-member volunteer Advisory Council and the National Trust Main Street Center.
The Maine Downtown Network was created in 2009 as a first step to help organize and-or apply for Main Street designation in the future. Interested communities are invited to contact Roxanne Eflin at firstname.lastname@example.org for a presentation and application.