ARUNDEL, Maine — Members of Arundel’s Economic Development Committee presented the final report from a recent marketing survey to the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 27. The Chesapeake Group was hired by Arundel to perform a marketing and branding survey in an effort to boost economic growth and development in the town.
“Now we need to decide what ideas we implement. What we like and what we don’t. Are we happy with it and do we want to continue with the branding,” said Ira Camp of the EDC.
The EDC does not feel like a logo and branding should happen without input from the board and from the community.
“We want input from the Board of Selectmen and the community so we can put an economic development plan together. That’s the next step,” said Linda Zuke of the EDC.
Findings from The Chesapeake Group revealed that Arundel is an agricultural town with several access points for tourists. Arundel is within close proximity to Route 1 and Interstate 95 as well as the Sanford and the Biddeford airports. Although The Chesapeake Group recommended that Arundel focus on agricultural tourism to gain economic growth, members of the EDC are not as eager.
“I am not sure we want to brand ourselves as only an agricultural town,” said John Bell of the EDC. “We need to look at what the real practical things that we are going to develop on for economic growth. I am not sure agriculture is going to do that.”
“We are just not sure if we can rely on only agricultural tourism. We need more,” said Zuke.
Selectmen chairman Thomas Danylik agreed.
“We have family farms and they are not always willing to open their doors to the public. Some assets are not ours to develop. For example, the Biddeford airport does not belong to Arundel,” said Danylik.
While the EDC is pleased with the potential for economic growth on Route 1 in Arundel, they would like to see some bigger things come in to the town.
“We need a major development for the tourism market. Sanford recently proposed a theme park. We need something like that,” said Sam Hull of the EDC.
Some positive findings from The Chesapeake Group were: Arundel taxes are not that high compared to surrounding towns and the average income was higher than expected. Arundel also has access to excellent transportation systems and of those who participated in the survey, 95 percent described Arundel as a nice place to live.
Arundel residents should look for an upcoming survey from the EDC. The committee would like to know where the community stands on how to proceed with economic development and will be working on a survey to post on the town’s website.