Comments for: Belfast: What went right? Investment in downtown, promotion and cooperation could pay off in other communities

Posted Dec. 12, 2012, at 5:06 p.m.

BELFAST | Those who have lived through Belfast’s ups and downs through the last four decades say the bustle and buzz that now hold sway are no happy accidents. Sure, assets like the city’s location at the intersection of Routes 1 and 3, picking up tourist traffic bound for …

Guidelines for posting on bangordailynews.com

The Bangor Daily News encourages comments about stories, but you must follow our terms of service.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic
  2. No vulgarity, racial slurs, name-calling or personal attacks.
  3. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked.
The primary rule here is pretty simple: Treat others with the same respect you'd want for yourself. Here are some guidelines (see more):

  • Anonymous

    Did they spend 100 millon in taxpayer revenue like they did in Bangor to attract drinkers to the pubs and taverns.

    • Anonymous

      You always sound like such a bitter negative person. Must be great…

      • Anonymous

        No!! I laugh alot and like to have fun.. I get great pleasure at pointing out things.. Now cosmos012 do you want certain elitist to be able to do anything they want for themselves at a cost to the Taxpayers and nobody say anything.. I totally enjoy being that voice that reminds people to look up.. Some one has to do it. Enjoy your day!! (-;

        • Anonymous

          Hey!!Keemosavie!!!!!How have you been! I dont know if we ever thanked you,but man,you totally saved my whole platoons ife,by pretending to be a female exotic dancer and distracting the Granadian general,just long enough to give us time to escape.We will forever br indebted to you and always be blood brothers!!!!Yu sir? are a GREAT AMERICAN!!!!!!Or were you Canadian?

      • Anonymous

        Oh no,you are wrong about that.I know Pushtheredbutton personally.We were in the same platoon in Grenada.He is a hoot and incredibly kind.Up for knighthood in Wales,I believe!

    • Anonymous

      There you go pushtheredbutton spreading tea party lies again……Belfast is a very a grassroots do it yourself community that’s been more successful in making local change than that other pseudo-grassroots movement – the Tea Party

      • Anonymous

        Sorry but that ain’t right! The tax paying citizens of Maine, and to some degree the country in general, paid for most of what happened in Belfast. Just like Bucksport. So here is the question; how much have taxes gone up in Belfast over the last 10 years? Doubled perhaps?

        • Anonymous

          That is not correct-my taxes were more in 2005 than they are now, even with the recent big jump. Over 70% of the property tax is paying for schools and county-the city portion is quite reasonable by comparison.

      • Anonymous

        wintahwren, you misread my comment, I asked a question, I didn’t lie. Now apoligize please and have fun in Belfast!!! I go a couple times a year and think it is a great place.

        • Anonymous

          yeah, you go a couple of times a year and its a great place! The City should be building a town for the locals. You just supported my annoyance at the City. Thank you for visitng the City! Now what about the people who live here?

      • Anonymous

        grass roots? LOL. A town of people from away. The majority of the council are from away. Local change…making the town into a fantasy from Downeast Magazine, or little Camden. After all, that is what the Maine image is. Have you ever been to a City Council meeting? The council speaks to the people like they are children and the council is doing what is best for them.

      • Anonymous

        So what did that grassroots community do to help MBNA? The tea party is alive and well in rural Maine, and enjoys the support of real environmentalists.

    • Anonymous

      no,They bought stock in Cute Cat Videos instead.made a MINT!!!!

  • Anonymous

    AthenaHealth is what went right for Belfast

    • Anonymous

      Hahahahahahahahaha!!!obviously youhave never worked there!!!Hahahahahaha..Happy hour ,and if you dont drink with the other imbeciles,because you might not want to drink and drive,you get looked down upon,and eventually fired..Had great potential,but they made some very bad choices for suervisors.One particular woma,um,female,comes to mind.local gal..Very local gal…Horrible judgement on Mr Tusconie’s part to hire her to fire folks..Too bad.Athena,on their BEST day,could NEVER EVER be 1/16th as good as MBNA was on its WORST day! The expose will be coming…Racism,discrimination,nepotism,it goes on and on..What a shame…

      • Anonymous

        I know the organization very well and I’ll leave it at that. The people I know there are awesome, they take care of the people that are able to stay. They do have very high standards for their employees. If you aren’t great, you don’t last. MBNA was an easier place to work. I guess it depends on what you look for in an employer. I’m sorry, getting nailed for drunk driving does show bad judgement on the part of an employee. Keep grinding the ax though, it may get sharp enough to be useful someday.

        • Anonymous

          I know the organization very well too.guess youve never been on the other end of blatant discrimination due to personal choices.Lucky you! Or maybe you met different folks,either way,Hope it works out for you!..And,um,MBNA was not easier work,it was just much more professional and predictable.Supervisors didnt give warnings to folks who wouldnt participate in snowball fights on company time,or have supervisors who would talk about their employees at Rollies. MBNA was a class act.Athena? just an ‘act’.

          • Anonymous

            Oh,and dont forget Athena’s pajama friday..Yeah,thats..um..classy..

      • Anonymous

        Sorry to hear that, thanks for the inside scoop

        • Anonymous

          Illegals out.Little known fact.Athena started out as a small healthfood/high colonic enema business in the Florida Panhandle area.Hey.you make the right people feel good? The sky is the limit!!!!

      • ROOK

        It is clear you have a strong opinion of athena. Yes, there is an eclectic collection of talent in the building. However you have no clue about the company or the people. You are not even close in spelling the vp of operations name. Einstein.

        • Anonymous

          Rook,my dear sweet little thong wearing,little cupcake…Dave was washing my car and mowing my lawn for me back in Wilmington,before he was out of middle school…And yes,eclectic is certainly ONE way to describe the suckers,um,employees in Belfast…A few others come to mind.Rhymes with ‘tools’…hahaha!

          • ROOK

            Well at least you spelled mbna correctly. So, were you fired by both places?

          • Anonymous

            Nope! Worked at both of them as a headhunter.Altho the pickens.round here,were night mighty slim…Moved to a more profitable,endeavor…So you work at Athenahealth,Mr Bush’s little tax write off?My sympathies…

          • ROOK

            I’m impressed with your ability to operate a keyboard while wearing a straightjacket.

          • Anonymous

            lol..I bet you are…lol

    • bogcook

      How about MBNA. They are the ones that changed things big time from Rockland To Belfast.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not trying to downplay their contribution. They definitely made the changes happen…but then they shut down. Without AthenaHealth moving in I doubt things would have stayed so good. Maybe someone else would have moved in, maybe not.

        • Anonymous

          Well the Belfast city counsel have to approve one of the two companies competing for Belfast’s attentions that year.Athena was one and Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville restaurant/amusement park,,,Guess we know who won….:{

  • Anonymous

    they are tearing up the railroad and forcing the railroad farther and farther outside the City. To make room for a rail trail? A rail trail with no user study? How many people are going to walk the trail from away? How many are going to spend money in Belfast? No information to support it, yet the City is pushing it through. The railroad can at least say how many people they attract, they contribute 1 million to the economy and attract buses going to Bar Harbor. I”m sure those buses will stop just to walk the rail trail. A City bent on destroying the past. If you don’t like Art what else is there to do in Belfast?

    • Anonymous

      If you dont like art,you could always go to Troy or Morrill,or Belmont,or some other boring dead town and enjoy your PBR from your pickup truck!

      • Anonymous

        I love the rural beauty of “Troy or Morrill, or Belmont” [sic]. When I come home (to Belfast) I spend a lot of time riding the old familiar back roads through these places. I much prefer them to the downtown “scene”.

        How unfortunate though, the hard working and wonderful folks in those areas just can’t compete with the level of enlightenment and intellect people like you posses, spewing hate and unfair rural stereotypes reeks of sophistication. You really do a good job at exposing how shallow you are.

        • Anonymous

          OOOh!!!A little but touchy about our self esteem are we?hahaha

          • Anonymous

            “A little but touchy about our self esteem are we?” <—— What? Is that English? Wow.

      • Anonymous

        “JustanotherSNARKYELITISTfaceinthecrowd”, you mean!

        • Anonymous

          nonono..That is “MR” SNARKYELITISTface in the crowd to the likes of you,honey!

    • Steven W.

      Rail to Trail has been around elsewhere for a while. It tends to generate business and provide quality natural outlets for people (residents and tourists). I am more upset on how they kicked the Maskers out to create a “park”. How much do you want to bet it will be a “Boat Park”. There is no way they can have a waterfront walkway go in front of the working Boatyard. It has to divert on the road. The railroad has a nice station up the road 2 miles and puts on great activities such as the rail pedaling excursions out of Thorndike in the summer.

      • Anonymous

        The attraction to the railroad is the scenery between the old bridge and the station you refer to. The view is unique and beautiful. Why is the Maskers any more valuable then the railroad? By the way their building, historic in nature will be razed. All traces of the railroad past erased from the waterfront. I find your closing statement offensive, just because there is a “nice” station up the road doesn’t mean that the railroad should be forced to move to make room for a trail. The trail could be built beside the tracks with some thought and fundraising. Afterall, Kitterridge alludes to the fact grant money is vailable. The City is just in a hurry to get the trail built. The Brooks Preservation Society operates that railroad and the rail bikes from Thordnike. Thorndike is 22 miles from Belfast. The station you refer to is City Point Railroad Museum and is not the Operators of the railroad.

  • Anonymous

    oh, great job Kitterridge and City Council. You had an existing proven econoic generator, the railroad. You are doing everything you can to drive them out of business. All for a trail! Knowing once the rails come up they will never go back down. Great job. Grants are wonderful…..but wake up, it is all tax payer money. The railroad used no tax money and attracted far more people.

  • Anonymous

    I just love these ” toot their own horn, pat their own backs, flatlander wonder stories, it was the fact that MBNA landed in Belfast around the mid 1990’s, that bailed out Belfast. Now, the flatlanders want the railroad out. Just remember to donate to the local food bank in Belfast for the majority over there that do not have a Trust Fund.

    • Anonymous

      I have to agree that MBNA was probably the biggest reason for the turnaround. They cleaned up a large area and made it a park and built the boathouse etc. And when they were in full swing their employees spent alot of money in town. Its good that the locals have tried to keep it up and further improve the image, but the bottom line is that had Charlie Cawley not brought MBNA to town then they would be still struggling to clean the place up and attract businesses and visitors.

      • Anonymous

        MBNA did the same in Rockland and transformed the entire harbor area…ah, the credit card boom days! This is what happens when a private corporation decides to do something on a grand scale and pulls it off. Belfast could use a strong Mayor to complete similar public projects.

        Where is Belfast going to relocated the downtown sewerage treatment plant, after a hot summer of complaining newcomers? Not quite MERC, but not the best neighbor for an organic farmers’ market either.

    • Anonymous

      Mbna was the best hing that ever happened to Belfast.Ever..

    • Anonymous

      The railroad has not been in downtown Belfast since 2005. If things had been left to the natives you’d still have a bunch of broken down empty factories. How many of them would prefer to spend their days processing chickens? Yeah-those olden days were just great!!

      • Anonymous

        The railroad had a plan they presented to the City Council to return to downtown two years ago. The RR agreed to move their station to the old bridge. They had a good season and contributed greatly to the economic activity of the area. They were promised rail and trail. Now the City doesn’t like the price tag so they feel it is ok to move them again. They City places little value in anything that is not artsy in nature. I remember old Belfast….it was dirty. I don’t support going back there, but City keeps pushing away the locals in favor of artsy themse.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly!!!!The ‘flat landahs’ are the ones that made Belfast a great place to live!Not the’locals’…

  • Anonymous

    My taxes were less when we had chicken plants than they are now, and my property value has not increased that much. I think it is time for another reevaluation. When I was younger there was 6000 souls living in Belfast, there was only 2-3 Ladies working in city hall without computers. 30 years later there a at least 6 Ladies working in city hall with computers. There are still around 6000 souls living in Belfast. I appreciate all the hard work Wilma Moses, Gerry Holland, and others did. The attitude down there now suckz, if they have to get out of they’re chair they act like it is an inexcusable problem. I think they are lucky to have a job.

    • Anonymous

      Thats not just Belfast City Hall.That seems to be everywhere.I agree tho,that another reevaluation is in order.Im happt to be able to walk on the beach by my grandmothers house and not see chicken offal floating on the water tho.And,I dont miss the guys with bloody aprons walking around town,do you?

      • Anonymous

        everyone had a job, they City had money. The railroad earned the most profits in history. Waldo COunty was a thriving place. Chicken hatcheries, machine shops, repairs facilities, spin off business, research buildings, fishermen in the Harbor (the lobsters and fish were attracted to the offal). My entire family worked in that industry. It was hard dirty work. They didn’t wish the younger generation to experience that, me included. I remember going to pick my grandmother up at Penobscot. I laugh at people now, they scoff at the old Belfast. They treat that industry as if the people were of lower class. They were proud people who worked without complaint. My aunt’s hands were scared from the knives used to cut the heads off sardines. Those from away should take lesson from that. I don’t miss crimson red harbor, chicken offal, or the smell from the people leaving the sardine plant. They City has done well to erase its past. The Broiler festival was huge, the 4th of July parade was huge. Penobscot Poultry had awards for the best poultry in the US, Stinson Cannery was world known, the big old beat up chicken pick up trucks were known. Do I miss it, sometimes, these idiots from away have no respect and no idea of community pride in the face of hardship. I remember when Penobscot closed and my grandmother crying. Nuts…

        • Anonymous

          look at the County now, poor, desolate….but it is all about Belfast

        • Anonymous

          I thought they used small scissors to behead and tail the sardines? Remember all of the bandaged fingers?Hey,good times….

    • Anonymous

      They City doens’t work for the locals anymore. Even the Mayor thinks he is above. Talk to the locals, born raised and living in the town. They are rare but they are there. Belfast hasn’t changed. Yes, it is cleaner and prettier but is still the same size, just as busy. But it cost more!

  • Anonymous

    Belfast:Moonbat Kingdom,and we LOVE it that way!!!!!!

  • Isaac Chroner

    I’ve always liked belfast…great news…Rollie’s is my joint

  • Anonymous

    I just returned from staying a few days in Belfast. My wife and I had a great time. One reason is that ALL of the shops in the downtown area were opened! So many of these smaller towns have signs up that say closed for season. Maybe part of the sucess of the area is not to hide all winter long and to relize that some people like to come in the off season and spend money. Thanks to all of the shops downtown for a great time!!!

  • David Douglas

    1. Rt 1 bypass keeps downtown quiet
    2. chicken chokers closed (thanks Frank Perdue)
    3. MBNA moved to town and cleaned up waterfront
    4. beautiful downtown buildings
    5. Belfast Coop – always at top of list of reasons why people move to town.
    6. Flatlanders had the commonsense to kill off local BIGBOX cheerleaders idiotic plans for Wal-Mart etc.
    7. waterfront renewal and saving the walking bridge.
    8. Mike Hurley’s Bears —
    9. kicking railroad to nowhere outside of town and welcoming new boatyard.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for putting your name on your post! It is amazing what people will say when you don’t know who they are. I’ve only been in Belfast for a short while, but am enjoying it for all the above reasons. It is a real bottom up community. I really love the fact that there is NO Wal Mart!

    • Anonymous

      And Chases Daily!!!!

  • Anonymous

    My taxes are still a bit lower than they were ten years ago even with the last big jump. Your high taxes are the result of the school system and not the city. MBNA is responsible for really turning things around but the council and esp Mr Hurley deserve credit for much of what’s happened here. I think I’ll take the ship yard over the railroad and I think the rail trail will bring in a lot more tourists and money than the railroad does when it is located way out in the middle of nowhere. One thing you can always count on-when there is a good story about Belfast-the whiners are out in full force complaining about nothing.

  • Briney

    Belfast is a lively little bustling Maine seaside place, and It’s getting better each year. Besides a street lined with historic brick buildings, filled with shops and restaurants, that sweep down to the shore, the harbor pulsates with life.

    There are boats of all shapes and sizes. Dozens of people rowing long boats. Others rapidly putting together boats as they’re locked in a fierce but friendly competition. In summer, it is a harbor filled with the sails of racing dinghies. There are tall masts, mingling with motor boats, lobster boats, tugs, and even an iconic Friendship sloop. The park sparkles and rings with many lively and colorful events.

    Boaters find Belfast Harbor has a distinct advantage over other harbors, when it comes to launching their craft. A straight run down Main Street leads directly onto a wide ramp. No twisting or dodging – one straight drive. Easy backing for launching, and the easiest take out anywhere..

    Ironically, Belfast, Maine, and Bangor, Maine, like their Irish ancestral cities, are situated just a short distance from each other.

    • Anonymous

      Actual the locals perfer Searsport for boat launching. The people from away just don’t know about it. Searsport has better facilities and doesn’t charge.
      The image you potray is the fantasy about Maine towns. There are fewer loster boats, fewer locals making a living, and even less non-tourist opportunities. A large set of ugly green buildings block the scenery. Who cares…..as long as the people from away can see the image you potrayed. There is little choice of restaurants, or should I say place to eat that are priced for locals.

    • Anonymous

      “A straight run down Main Street leads directly onto a wide ramp. No
      twisting or dodging – one straight drive.”….If you get a good enough speed going? You can rip right up into Youngs parking lot!!!!!Give it a try!Its amazing fun!Endorphin city!!!

  • Anonymous

    Just need competition in town for Hannaford, so prices will be better on groceries.

    • Anonymous

      can’t, Hannaford likely donates to the political machine. Wait isn’t Hannaford a box store? The redecorated to make it look like the people wanted, it fits in with bears in the street and trash made into art!

    • Anonymous

      That would be great..At one time,Belfast had Cottles,Sampsons,First National and A&P.The economy was different.People worked,not so many food stamp and EBT folks.

  • Nice job, Tom.

  • Anonymous

    “View from the Outside” was a good title for a section of this article. Because that’s how it is when you drive by Belfast: the highway/bypass just zips you right around it and you catch a little glimpse as you cross the bridge.
    That’s it.

    • Anonymous

      wave on our way to Bar Harbor…….the only thing that got the Bar Harbor people to stop was the railroad. what did they say in their presentation to the Council, something like 1,000 people? 20 buses of 50 people. They stayed at a hotel on the east side. I”m sure people just assumed they were there to see Hurley’s bears or the hippies protesting, or maybe the stump bench near the pizza place. Maybe it was the trash cans with trash glued to them to make them look like pigs!

  • Anonymous

    Belfast is great to business and batters the resident. Stormwater sewers/ditching for business and force channeling stormwater to residents private property. Residents of Seaview Terrace in grave danger, 5 inches will wipe us out. City refuses to get City Stormwater out. Pleas to take Northport Ave TIF money be including Seaview Terrace via the WCGH new Annex to build sewers and save our lives and homes go unanswered. Council contemplates taking Northport Ave TIF to use with Downtown TIF for businesses… see more http://www.belfastbullies.blogspot.com
    Laurie Allen, Battered Resident of Seaview Terrace,Belfast

    • Anonymous

      I hear the City is thinking about creating associations similiar to Home Owner’s associations. If you pick a color the people from away don’t like or the converts too afraid to speak up, you can be denied the right to paint your house. We wouldn’t want anyone deviating from the plan……Kitterridge did say it is important for everyone moves in the same direction.

  • westshores

    If the number ONE business in your state is Tourism….wouldn’t any community want a piece of that pie if it’s done the right way? Go to Orlando, Florida and check out that brand of tourism….Congrats Belfast for doing it the right way!

    • Anonymous

      I’d like our State to not have tourism as the number 1 industry. Products should be the number one industry. Hey Maine is all about, “welcome, spend your money and get the hell out.

      • westshores

        I agree with you, however, I don’t see that happening any time soon. We have a very old work force with many people hoping for a well paying job with no high tech skills for this century. In the mean time let’s not mess up what we do have. Those jobs at the boat yard are an example of the good mix of business in Belfast.

  • BDN Ombudsman

    MBNA was the big event, bringing the deep pockets to clean up blight and make Belfast attractive. However, having lived in the area for a long time, the best thing to happen to Belfast has been the influx of restaurants. No longer are we forced to head to Camden for a nice dinner when we get sick of Darbys, Dockside or Weathervane. In any small town, it’s restaurants that draw people in.

    • Anonymous

      And Chases!!!And Seng Thai!

  • Anonymous

    Laurel riding on MBNA and Front Street Shipyard. City Hall Wall spinning wheels and tax dollars on ?? In 2 years, we’ve finally got signs that you can’t read and big bucks in studies that any local (not me) could have advised “Waste of money”. Forbes listed Maine as worst state for business. Belfast got real lucky and must stop beating and robbing residents of rights and thug governing. The last meeting the City Manager Joe Slocum brought JB of Front Street Shipyard some water at the podium. When I speak, I get the evil eye, the gavel and a history of police presence, called in as a threat to Chief of Police, City employees ordered not to help me, maps go missing, documents with held, Hurley slanders me after I leave meeting on public TV, etc. All for exposing the unethical, illegal flooding of residents. The Front Street project began at the same time I began asking for maps- approx. 4/2011. And there you go- Front Street Shipyard is a sparkling diamond, City Manager Joe Slocum a personal valet. I still can’t get the map, Council has taken the 5th and watches the corruption, City Attorney send letters of intimidation, attempting to alienate neighbors, trying to force me into a legal battle. There they can totally break this 51 year old survivor single Mom, who moved here to begin again, with safety and peace. Town and Country Realtors sold me undisclosed hell, not taking it, will fight to the grave or wood chipper. http://www.belfastbullies.blogspot.com
    Laurie Allen, Hotel Seaview Terrace, Belfast

    • Anonymous

      Keep fighting Laurel!You never know,it might just strike the right folks!

      • Anonymous

        Thank you- 2 years of taking punches, it is beginning to come to light to those that didn’t want to believe this is happening. How many times have you heard, They seem like nice people, I never would have thought, I want to believe them because the truth is too disturbing…Facts and documents don’t lie(that’s why they hide them, useless is MFOIA), neither do I.
        Laurie Allen

Similar Articles