Village & Downtown Revitalization
For any questions related to Community Development needs in your community, contact: Mathew Eddy firstname.lastname@example.org, Max Johnstone email@example.com, or Adi Philson firstname.lastname@example.org. Please find below the many community development topic areas the MCOG staff can assist in:
MCOG's staff can assist you with village and downtown planning, improvements, and where appropriate revitalization. Staff can identify programs and funding opportunities appropriate to your community and assist you in strategic planning to help get you prepared for application. At the same time, staff can assist you community in zoning assessments and with community engagement, assist in design changes to your land use strategies, including historic preservation.
In addition, MCOG, or the existing municipal participants of the Main Street Program (https://mainstreetmaine.org/) can assist you in understanding the principles of the Main Street Program here in Maine. Existing full participants include Belfast, Rockland, Bath and Brunswick.
Maine’s working waterfronts reflect the unique cultural heritage that gives Maine its iconic coastline. It makes Maine, Maine! Economically significant, working waterfronts are the hubs that provide livelihoods for thousands of families who contribute millions of dollars to the local, state, national, and international economies. Preserving and supporting working waterfronts is vital to healthy and vibrant Midcoast communities.
Arts, Recreation, & Livability
How would you define a thriving, livable community? To MCOG, livability encapsulates quality of place, ease of transportation, access to recreation and open space, equitability, support for arts and culture, and a focus on neighborhoods and cultivating community. MCOG can assist your community in setting and achieving its livability goals through thoughtful planning.
The Midcoast Creative Economy
MCOG's region is blessed with a strong creative economy. Whether it be the regions significant museums (the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Pejebscott Museum, Owls' Head Transportation Museum, to name but a few) or the local artists and galleries that call the Midcoast home and populate our downtowns and villages, the role of artists is a critical part of our economic engine. It is also essential to your communities quality of life. Contact an MCOG staff member if you would like further assistance in developing the arts community in your town.
Trails, Open Space, & Recreation
MCOG works with State and local partners to develop open space and recreation plans which reflect community priorities. MCOG can also work with municipalities to plan trail networks and look for funding to implement trail facilities.
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The RTP provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and nonmotorized recreational trail uses.
The Land for Maine's Future Program is the State of Maine's primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The Program works to coordinate and finance acquisition of lands. Through the use of matching funds, the program encourages partnerships with local, regional, statewide, and federal conservation organizations.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 (LWCF) was established to assist federal, state, and local governments in the acquisition and/or development of public outdoor recreation facilities. Administered at the federal level by the National Park Service and at the state level by the Bureau of Parks and Lands in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, LWCF grants can provide up to 50% of the allowable costs for approved acquisition or development projects for public outdoor recreation.
Maine's Redevelopment Land Bank
Maine's Land Bank legislation passed in 2022 established a Land Bank Redevelopment Authority and Fund for the purpose of assisting municipalities turn blighted, vacant, abandoned, or foreclosed plots into productive properties.
Why land banking?
Establishment of a Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority:
1. Makes Maine eligible for federal funding for its Land Bank.
2. Allows municipalities and regional planning organizations to form land banks.
3. Provides for expedited title clearance for all land banks.
4. Provides for a State Land Bank that can help state agencies redevelop otherwise unused or undesirable properties due to costly environmental/site cleanup, building hazards, demolition costs, liens, back taxes, etc.
The St. George Working Waterfront Vulnerability Study looks at how sea level rise and flooding will affect the places where people work and do business near the water. Specifically, the study will examine how this will affect jobs related to the lobster and aquaculture industries.
The study aims to inform local leaders and community members about how important these waterfront areas are for the local economy and community, and what challenges they will face due to rising water levels.
Union Community Center [in progress]
MCOG is working with the town of Union in the redevelopment of the Union School (senior housing) and the Thompson Community Center. The project will include identifying development partners, grants for rehabilitation, and future funding flows (Tax Increment Financing) to maintain the Thompson Community Center as a mixed use program to serve Union residents and businesses.
Thomaston Green Redevelopment [in progress]
MCOG assisted Thomaston in updating its vision for "Thomaston Green" and creating an implementation strategy for moving forward. The program, which will be voted on by the community, mixes open space conservation with municipal, health, and housing needs. Staff assisted the community in understanding the TIF program and how to use their existing and future reserves.
Waldoboro AD Gray Housing:
The former AD Gray school closed in 2009 when the local school district had more accommodating facilities for their students. With the Town receiving the school to redevelop the site, the building stood vacant for over a decade as community discussions revolved on how to rehabilitate the structure. In 2020, these efforts shifted to demolition of the site and to provide affordable housing for up to 36 residents aged 55 or older as a collaborative effort with Volunteers of America. MCOG has assisted with discussions, permitting, and receiving CDBG funding to move the project forward.
Damariscotta Waterfront Parking:
On August 19, 2015, the Damariscotta Select Board accepted a report from the Town’s Waterfront Committee that outlined the need for reconstructing the parking lot to address sea level rise, storm surge, and preserving the amenities that benefit the residents and visitors of Damariscotta. In April 15, 2020, the Town received a $3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration program (EDA) to help with Damariscotta’s resiliency efforts thanks to an application written by the staff at MCOG (formerly Midcoast Economic Development District). To this day, MCOG is still assisting with administrative work and guidance on this project.
+ Increased public awareness of the social and economic benefits of the local fishing industry.
+ Increased awareness of climate-related impacts to working waterfront infrastructure, and the socio-economic impacts of vulnerable populations associated with working waterfronts at risk.
+ Increased participation in decision-making. Robust stakeholder engagement will foster more inclusive decision-making around adaptation options.
+ A working waterfront strategy built on reaching consensus on mitigation options, through stakeholder engagement. Information on location, expected risks and adaptation options will be available to residents, businesses, and decision-makers for future planning, engineering studies, and fundraising.
Give us a call or an email so we can discuss with you how we can provide these services.