Eastport Economic Development Forum
Meeting of June 9th, 1997 / Meeting of June 4th, 1997 / Meeting of May 28th, 1997
Meeting of June 4th, 1997
Beginning of Editing Notes into a Discussion Paper
Goals and Principles
[stopped group editing here]
We should not [just?] 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 can we facilitate healthy, well paying jobs and income opportunities?
We are not alone in facing the problem of economic development. We must learn from others. We should learn from the mistakes of other communities.
Determine and form consensus about aspirations for the long run.
Assumption [or do we assume?]: Growth is part of aspiration and growth will mean change. [How much growth do we want and how much of what we like about living here might we have to sacrifice.]
[Is growth more important or diversification and stabilization more important, etc.?]
Network within the community and aspire higher within the region. [aspire to network?]
Use the business plan concept as a methodology for community economic planning.
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 always in control of the local economy.
Explore unused aspects of the airport and other facilities of the City infrastructure.
We must develop a determination in everyone to view this as important work and to understand it will take time. There must be a commitment to continue the process.
What are the goals of the planning process. The planning process should be connected to peoples lives and issues.
We need to keep in view the "snowball effect". [Any single minor improvement in the local economy will make other improvements easier.]
Our Assets and Liabilities
Identify the variety of our assets and our liabilities. Are there restrictions or lack of infrastructure that keeps firms from locating here?
Ensure that everyone develops knowledge of local assets and liabilities and uses it to describe the region.
Educate people about basic business planning and other skills of the future. Including recognizing business planning as not too complicated and though it is hard work it gives a path to follow.
Speed information about available programs, etc.
Work with students on basic skills and business skills, etc.
[What role might or should this group play in suggesting or supporting educational standards, especially preventing passing on or graduating students without educating them.
[How can we help educate people in improving their economic position regardless of their income?]
Stress basic educational skills and employability.
[Talk about developing a local program similar to National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Information on this is available.] [Perhaps two courses developed for local use. One more adult oriented one more youth oriented.]
First class educational institutions are needed. [Perhaps need a joint meeting with the school board to discuss the business persons problems with the educational system as it now exists and why it is failing?]
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.
There was a well-known art school here in the past.
Computer education for adults "distance education".
Education needs to help provide skills for both the current and the future economy.
We must recognize that the schools are major employers in this town.
Work with the schools to encourage children and young adults to be involved in the future.
Business Environment at the Interface with Government
Where does local government fit in?
Ensure that enforcement of local law is consistent and equal for everyone.
Promotion of the revolving loan fund at 5% interest to put existing money to work.
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 have low unemployment and significantly lower interest rates.
Use the resources of the various state and federal agencies, the Internet, and others.
Explore the "asset" of being near the Canadian border, bearing in mind the problem of fluctuating currency rates.
City as partner in various short and long term [goals? actions?]
Use taxation and job training, other assets.
Piece together an understanding of the State and Federal resources and technical assistance available.
Maintain a voice in Augusta promoting Eastport and the region not just by talking to legislators but also through the media.
The existing work of the City Council, School Board and Port Authority. [coordinating with, building on, filling gaps?]
Identify needs and set obtainable objectives. For instance type of business or industry tied to mixed economy.
Move beyond talk to make a plan happen.
Create a focus at each stage or step in the process.
Explore alternatives and consequences.
Mixture of short term actions "cant do nothing [anything?]"
We cannot wait for something to happen.
Make decisions about priorities and expenditures.
Action on some project.
Promotion of Eastport and the Businesses Here
Importance of understanding the market for the particular business.
Take advantage of the Canadian advertising that encourages people to pass through our region.
Take advantage of the States marketing plan for trade.
Think of cultural tourism based upon history, the arts, local craftspeople, etc.
Elder hostel concept: 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, people. We can match tourism with these resources.
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? [Should this remain a loose group of whoever shows up, be constituted as a agency of the City, or be set up as an Eastport [Area?] Development Corporation?] [Whatever the structure the "intent" paragraph will be very important.]
[Focus Meeting on Goals and Principles?]
[Joint Focus Meeting with the School Board on the Educational System in Eastport?]
How do we address the statement: "Wed love to move here but theres no way to support ourselves."?
Current Meetings Schedule:
Prepare the Discussion Paper (Wednesday June 4th, 1997, 6pm)
Prepare the Discussion Paper (Monday June 9th, 1997, 6pm, the Shead band room)
Prepare the Discussion Paper (Wednesday June 18th, 1997, the Shead band room)
Meeting to Review the Discussion Paper (June 24th, 1997; time and place to be announced
Phrases removed: Retain for discussion topic under idea of enumerating advantages that we want to keep or improve:
Keep the area beautiful, clean and quiet
combining service, information technology, light industry and tourism businesses with an emphasis on selling to the regional, national and global markets, not just locally.
both those that are here and those that may come. People bring back skills with them when they return and we can attract others
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