Eastport Economic Development Forum

Discussion Paper / Meeting of June 9th / Meeting of June 4th, 1997 / Meeting of May 28th, 1997

Discussion Paper

For Tuesday June 24th, 1997 Meeting



The Three Strategic Planning Inputs

  1. Values and Aspirations
  2. External Situation Assessment
  3. Internal Situation Assessment


Action Plans, the Implementation Phase

Topics for Future Discussions

Current Meetings Schedule

Eastport Statistical Data

An Analytical Framework for Economic Development Planning by Neil H. Borden, Jr.

Maine State Government Contacts for Washington County by Will Hopkins

Attendees List



The meeting of June 9th decided to have the typist reorganize the previous notes along the proposed framework suggested by Neil Borden. In addition there was a request from the meeting to add a page on Eastport statistical data.

The Three Strategic Planning Inputs

1. Values and Aspirations

These are the items that define what we want to be as a community.

We all have a right to be here. We must respect the full range of people in town and appreciate diversity.

We must continue to strive to get all types of people to participate and feel included.

Retain the advantages that make it worth living here and attract the businesses, capital and people we need.

To keep this as a community where people both live and work.

There should be a diversified economy with increased cooperation and interaction between the sectors.

We need to use our natural resources in a sustainable way.

We need to recognize people as resources.

We must strike a balance between local economic self-sufficiency and global trading.

Young people should have the choice to stay in town and know there is a future for them here.

We must find ways to create employment possibilities for Eastport youth.

Determine what changes we want and what changes we don’t want.

We must explore which things that have happened in the past will be proper lessons for the future and which are not. For example attracting large industries may be less effective than smaller scale individual income opportunities.

Facilitate healthy, well paying jobs and income opportunities?

We must determine how much growth we want and how much of what we like about living here we are willing to sacrifice.

First class educational institutions are needed.

Ensure that enforcement of local law is consistent and equal for everyone.

Encouraging the downtown small business district is important. While buildings have gradually been fixed up and occupied there is still one block of five storefronts with apartments that is not only unoccupied but boarded up. Filling these storefronts and apartments appears to be a key to giving the City a better image to visitors. As far as possible we should attract destination businesses to the downtown. In other words businesses that people get in their car or boat or plane to go to. The other major problem to be solved is maximizing the potential parking area.

We must work to change negative images of Eastport into positive images.


2. External Situation Assessment

Eastport is part of the regional economy, which includes the Canadian side of the Bay. We should explore the "asset" of being near the Canadian border, bearing in mind the problem of fluctuating currency rates. We may be able to take advantage of the Canadian advertising that encourages people to pass through our region.

Unemployment and underemployment must be defined as it applies to Eastport.

We are not alone in facing the problem of economic development. We must learn from others. We should contact other communities and learn from their positive experiences and mistakes.

High interest rates are a problem. Washington County has high unemployment and high interest rates, which is a formula to discourage growth. Lower interest rates tend to draw business and increase growth. Other parts of the state and nation have low unemployment and significantly lower interest rates.

Identify the resources of the various state and federal agencies, the Internet, and others.

Identify ways to take advantage of the State’s marketing plan for trade.

The area is beautiful and clean.


3. Internal Situation Assessment

We need to use our natural resources in a sustainable way.

We need to recognize people as resources.

We must define unemployment and underemployment as it applies to Eastport.

Is growth more important or diversification and stabilization more important, etc.?

We should remember the increasing numbers of people using computers and the Internet to make a living in Eastport.

Explore unused aspects of the airport and other facilities of the City infrastructure.

Identify the variety of our assets and our liabilities and how they describe the City and region. Are there restrictions or lack of infrastructure that keeps firms from locating here?

Augment the Marine Technology Center and help market it. There is great market potential for a summer avocational course. The Marine Technology Center has directly, or indirectly, brought a lot of people to Eastport and a summer schedule for non-professional boat building, etc. could tremendously benefit the City as a whole.

We must recognize that the schools are major economic units in this town.

City is or has been a partner in various short and long term projects.

There is an opportunity for cultural tourism based upon history, the arts, local craftspeople, courses at the Marine Technology Center, etc. Evidence of the success of this is the Elder hostel program. They came here because of who we are and where we are. There is a mix of resources for this that includes school facilities, lodging, meals, history, marine resources, and people.

One of our major assets is that we have people who can handle themselves on the water.

Explore what can be done to enhance Eastport’s "on the water" existence and the bringing in of people traveling on boats to contribute to the economy.

Fourth of July is an opportunity to sell the community.

At the end of this paper there is a brief start on a body of statistics about Eastport.



While all the above must be fully developed before strategic planning can take shape, we have one comment that seems to belong in this section:

We need to identify a range of venture opportunities of different sizes. This would include both those with a macro economic focus and those with a micro economic focus.

Action Plans, the Implementation Phase

The items shown here so far are elements that it was felt should be included in future action plans. Possibly there should be discussion on going ahead with some of these now.

Education for Young People and Adults

Stress basic educational skills and employability.

Work with students on basic skills and business skills, etc.

We must develop a program that will educate both young people and adults about basic business planning and other skills of the future. It should stress that business planning is not too complicated. Although it is hard work it gives a path to follow. This might be done through developing a local program similar to that promoted by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship with two separate sections. One would teach basic economic, business planning, job and entrepreneurial skills to high school students. The other would be similar but adult oriented. Information is available on the NFTE course materials.

Education about computers and distance education by way of computers should be developed.

Work with the schools to encourage children and young adults to be involved in the future.

Piece together an understanding of the State and Federal resources and technical assistance available.

There was a well-known art school here in the past.

Promotion of the revolving loan fund at 5% interest to put existing money to work.

Use taxation and job training, other assets.

Coordinating action with and through the appropriate responsible organizations: City Council, School Board, Port Authority, Planning Board, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Extend parking onto Sea Street behind the motel.


Topics for Future Discussions

We need to find a balance between the two statements: "This place is great because it is the way Maine used to be." "This place is 30 years behind the times.

Structure & Decision Making:

How do we deal with disagreements on aspects of a plan and should we be attempting to make this a goal of the business community only or should we attempt to present this as a modification or updating of the existing official planning of the community? In either case how do we provide for future updating and modification of the plan?

Is there a process and someone to steer it? Who is involved? In other words should this remain a loose group of whoever shows up? Should it be constituted as an agency of the City? Should it be set up as an Eastport Development Corporation oriented toward improving the personal economic situation of Eastport families, and promoting and supporting both small and moderate sized businesses. Whatever the structure the "intent" paragraph will be very important.

A joint meeting of the Economic Forum with the school board might focus on the problems the businessperson and others see with the educational system as it now exists.

How do we address the statement: "We’d love to move here but there’s no way to support ourselves."?

Business incubation center development.

Develop a list of ventures for which there appears to be a need. There could be special emphasis on development of a list of business types for which downtown locations would be economically viable. In order to remove a major negative element of people’s image of Eastport.


Current Meetings Schedule:

Meeting to Review the Discussion Paper June 24th, 1997


Eastport Statistical Data

These statistics are drawn from a variety of sources and may need to be verified. Since gathering these statistics the typist has been given a copy of The 1995 Comprehensive Plan for Eastport. This valuable document contains a great deal more statistical material. While there is no time to digest and present it all here, an attempt will be made to make this available gradually on the Internet at: http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/forum.htm

Of those paying property taxes in Eastport 38% are non-resident.

The entire City contains 3.7 square miles.

George Finch, City Manager


Washington County Economic & Demographic Data Summaries from the 1990 Census

County Population 35,308

Median Age 35.7

(State of Maine 33.9)

1980s Population Growth 1%

1990s Projected Pop. Growth 4.5%

Unemployment Dec. 1995 7.8%

(State 5.1%, US 5.2%)

Retail Trade Firms 301

Service Firms 223

Construction Firms 98

Number of Towns 47

Land Area square miles 2,569

Number of Firms 876

Number of Employees (1994) 10,848

County Seat Machias


Eastport Area Town Statistics

  Population Households Median Hshld. Income
Eastport 1,818 797 $17,282
Pleasant Point 598 180 $18,333
Pembroke 895 335 $16,613
Perry 773 273 $25,893

Sources of Data: Sunrise County Economic Council, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, Center for Business and Economic Research (University of Southern Maine), Maine Department of Labor (Division of Economic Analysis), Maine State Planning Office, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, U.S. Census Bureau.


An Analytical Framework for Economic Development Planning

by Neil H. Borden, Jr.


I. Situation & Analysis

  1. External / Environment
  2. Resources / Internal
  3. Values / Aspirations

II. Objectives by Strategic Area

Five Year Moving Average

Two Page Maximum

Defines needs for economic development (focus)

e.g. basic industries, light industries, services / support, tourism, education

III. Implementation

Action Plans (by strategic areas)

One to two year plans

IV. Responsible Organizations

City Council

Port Authority

School System

Region / Area




Illustrations by Heading


I. Situation & Analysis

  1. This is our database. It is both objective (hard fact) and subjective (e.g. opinion, re value). So far the group has done a good job on the opinions side; it is very slim on the hard facts.
  3. Let’s look at each analytical area:
  5. 1. External / Environment
  6. This area requires work; the state has, I’m sure, some good summary material. The data should be on Economic, Political, Social & Geographic aspects. For instance my guesses / estimates (for county):



High unemployment (2 x state average)

Low family income

Few large industries – probably no more than 35 with 20 and over employees.

Natural resource dependent:

Forest products (cyclical)

Fisheries (seasonal and stressed resource)


Little to no growth



Competition with populous areas for resources.



Small communities over large area.

Difficulty maintaining infrastructure.

Marginal health care.

Stressed educational systems.



Weak primary highway system.

Great scenic, outdoors, hunting, fishing, wilderness.

Short summer season (90 days).

Long winter, tough climate.


2. Internal / Resources (Eastport Specific)

2,000 people in 3.7 square miles, approximately 750 (?) families.

High unemployment

Many families dependent on two incomes. (Great need for one worker to earn health benefits.)

Economic base & skill base:

Primarily marine or port related:




Marine Trades

Many marine related jobs are individual or partnership type enterprises: seasonal, cyclical, marginal income.

Marine Trades School asset, but not being maintained.

Minimal retail, (large part siphoned off)

Historic, picturesque community.

Decaying downtown, not attractive, depressing.

Pressured tax base.

Canadian border proximity asset. Lower barriers open trade opportunity.


4. Values / Aspirations

We have a long list of these from the first two meetings. My synthesis:

Live in, work in city.

Provide opportunity for children

Promote a variety of economic thrusts:

  1. Marine related: Fisheries, aquaculture, boat building.
  2. Port related
  3. Tourism / seasonal
  4. Diversified small manufacturing & service businesses

II. Objectives by Strategic Areas:

Here you look back at your database and (1) define strategic areas you want to pursue, and (2) set objectives & priorities.

Please remember there should be a lot more input to the database before defining strategies.

For purposes of illustration, however, let me use my data base conjectures to move from database to strategy:

    1. The greatest resource skill base is in marine related endeavors. This should be pursued, enlarged, supported.
    2. Port business is the future. It should be strongly pursued.
    3. Eastport needs several basic industries to replace Guilford. Companies that can use the existing work force in low to mid-skilled positions. This is because Eastport will continue to need two breadwinners in many families and the marine and port businesses will not provide the wage and benefit stability needed.
    4. Eastport should encourage tourism business as it can make an important (but marginal) contribution to the economy. Successful pursuit of tourism will require resolution of the "downtown problem."


III. Implementation


IV. Responsible Organizations

These are way down the road.

Essentially, they involve putting together plans by strategic areas with explicit reference as to which organizations are responsible.


Maine State Government Contacts for Washington County

Dept. of Labor: Mike T. Bourret, Director, Workforce Development Division 624-6390
Dept. of Labor Data: Dana Evans 287-2271
Dept. of Conservation: Shippen (Ship) Bright, Deputy Commissioner 287-4904
Dept. of Economic and Community Development: Mike Duguay 287-2686
State Planning Office: Stephen Cole 287-8057
Dept. of Agriculture: John Harker 287-7620
Dept. of Transportation: Carl Croce, Director, Bureau of Planning 287-3131
Maine Science & Technology Foundation:Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center Mike Hastings, Director, 989-5310
Dept. of Marine Resources: Hal Winters 624-6550
Finance Authority of Maine: Charlie Spies 623-3263

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