Economic Development Forum
The following notes are from the meeting of the Eastport
Economic Development Forum that took place on Wednesday
May 28th, 1997. These are the raw notes. An open meeting
which all are encouraged to attend will take place on Wednesday
June 4th at 6pm in the Shead High School band room. This meeting
will attempt to organize these raw thoughts and any others which
people come up with into a Discussion Paper to be presented at
the next regular meeting on the forum on June 24th. Space for
this information is provided free of charge as a community
service by macnaughtongroup.com. Public
comment may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
and will be posted here.
Eastport Economic Development
Meeting of May 28, 1997
Janet Toth, Organizer
Ron Beard, Facilitator
George Finch, Introductory Remarks
Stated Purpose & Intended Outcome of the
- To learn what people think makes economic
- To learn what people think should happen
to create a plan for further economic development
(As taken by Ron Beard. These notes have been
slightly organized and sentences made more complete. However,
nothing has been left out.)
First Page Notes Labeled "Next
- Identify needs and set obtainable
objectives. For instance type of business or industry
tied to mixed economy.
- Identify our assets and our liabilities.
The variety of assets. Are there restrictions or lack of
infrastructure that keeps firms from locating here.
- Educate people about basic business
planning and other skills of the future.
- Speed information about available
- See Eastport as part of the regional
- Ensure that enforcement of local law,
especially zoning, is consistent.
- Everyone develops knowledge of local
assets and liabilities and uses it to describe the
- Move beyond talk to make a plan happen.
- Deal with disagreements on aspects of a
Second Page of Notes
- There should be a mixed economy combining
service, information technology, light industry and
tourism businesses with an emphasis selling to the
national and global economy not just locally.
- We need to recycle our money and bring in
- The unemployment rate needs to go down
from the present level.
- Young people need to be able to stay in
the town and have things that interest them here.
- Young people need to know there is a
future for them in Eastport.
- We need to keep the area beautiful, quiet
- The mixed economy should have reduced
barriers between the sectors so the pieces can interact
- Work on renewing the resources we have.
- Keep this as a community where people both
live and work.
- Understand what resources we have, natural
and other, and take advantage of them without (over)
Third Page of Notes
- How do we 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."
- Recognize people as resources, both those
that are here and those that may come.
- We need to attract dollars, remember the
revolving loan fund at 5% interest, and put existing
money to work here.
- 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 tends to draw businesses and increase
- Success equals controlled or planned
development with the desired end product or desired
community changes clearly defined.
- We should learn from the mistakes of other
- We should not try to explore whether
things that have happened in the past will be proper
lessons for the future. For example attracting large
industries may be less effective than smaller scale
individual income opportunities. We should remember the
increasing numbers of people using computers and the
Internet to make a living.
- How do we address the statement:
"Wed love to move here but theres no way
to support ourselves."
- How can we facilitate healthy, well paying
jobs and income opportunities.
Fourth Page of Notes
- Determine and form consensus about
aspirations for the long run.
- Create a focus at each stage or step in
- Assumption: Growth is part of aspiration
and growth will mean change.
- Explore alternatives and consequences.
- Network within community and aspire higher
within the region.
- Work with students on basic skills and
business skills, etc.
- Use "Business Plan" concept as a
- Understand market for the business.
- Stress basic educational skills and
- Recognize it (business planning?) is not
too complicated and though it is hard work it gives a
path to follow.
- Use the resources of various state and
federal agencies, the Internet, and others.
- If development appears too aggressive a
concept we can at least pursue stabilization.
- Not everything will be successful but we
must keep trying and learn.
- There is no one quick fix.
- There must be short range and long range
aspects to a plan.
- We are not alone in facing the problem of
economic development. We must learn from others.
- We need to think of Eastport as part of a
region (which includes the Canadian side of the Bay)
- Explore the "asset" of being
near the Canadian border, bearing in mind the problem of
fluctuating currency rates.
- Take advantage of Canadian advertising
that encourages people to pass through our region.
- Take advantage of the States
marketing plan for trade.
- City as a partner in various short and
long term [goals? actions?]
- We arent always in control of the
- Mixture of short term actions
"cant do nothing [anything?]"
- We cant wait for something to
- Use taxation and job training, other
- Piece together an understanding of the
State and Federal resources and technical assistance
- Maintain a voice in Augusta promoting
Eastport and the region not just by talking to
legislators but also through the media.
Page Six Notes
- People bring skills back with them when
they return and we can attract others who will bring
skills with them.
- First class educational institutions are
- Augment the Marine Technology Center and
help market it. There is great market potential for a
summer avocational course.
- Think of cultural tourism based
upon history, the arts, local craftspeople. There was a
well known art school here in the past.
- Computer education for adults
- Elder hostel concept: They came because of
who we are and where we are.
- Mix of resources includes school
facilities, lodging, meals, history, marine resources,
people. We can match tourism with these resources.
- Explore unused aspects of the airport and
other facilities of the City infrastructure.
Page Seven Notes
- We all have a right to be here and we must
respect the full range of people in town. Public
discussion needs to affirm this idea, especially as we
look at developing and maintaining a mixed economy. We
must be wary of any plan that appears to exclude anyone.
- How do we get all types of people to
participate and feel included. Perhaps meetings must be
scheduled at different times and we need to go out and
contact people to encourage them to attend.
- Education needs to help provide skills for
current and future economy.
- We must recognize that the schools are
major employers in this town.
- Help people understand that this is
important work and it will take time.
- Connect a planning process to
peoples lives and issues.
- Ask children and young adults to be
involved in the future and work with the schools.
- Make decisions about priorities and
- "Snowball effect."
- Practical economics for kids [typists
note: discuss National Foundation for Teaching
- Entry level experience in work for young
people. Some tourism jobs employ young people.
Page Eight Notes
- Where does the local government /
municipal government fit?
- Action on some project
- Commitment to continue process.
- Add people to process.
- Is there another meeting?
- Is there a process and someone to steer
- This meeting was to begin the process and
to gather peoples views.
- Existing work: City Council, School Board,
- Draft discussion paper, an outline of
- Define concepts (draft)
- Time line
- Who is involved?
- Goals of the planning process.
- Circulation of the list of attendees and
copies of the raw notes by mail or pickup is available
through Thomas A. MacNaughton 853-6049.
- A meeting will be held on Wednesday
June 4th at 6pm in the High
School band room to organize material for a
Discussion Paper to be presented at the Tuesday June 24th
meeting. Time and place to be announced.