Belfast named 'business-friendly' community
Belfast — Belfast is a “Certified Business-Friendly” community following a presentation to city officials by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner Monday, Aug. 19.
The city is one of 24 communities that have received the official designation from the state. As part of the ceremony, Commissioner George Gervais presented officials with a certificate and road signage signifying the distinction.
Thomas Kittredge, Belfast's economic development director, said being named a “business-friendly” community is another tool the city can use to attract and retain businesses. He continued by saying he felt the city has taken steps to make the city an attractive place to do business.
“It's nice to have that kind of stamp of approval from the state,” Kittredge said of the city receiving its “business-friendly” designation.
As part of the process for being designated a “business-friendly” community, the city had to file an application with the state, which is then reviewed by a committee, DECD Spokesman Doug Ray said.
Belfast was selected as a business-friendly community due to its use of Tax Increment Financing and state and federal funds to improve infrastructure and support the business climate; the establishment of a Brownfields Assessment Program; efforts to build and support a skilled work force; creation of a full time economic development director and collaboration with Our Town Belfast, Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce and Belfast Creative Coalition; and because of efforts to attract and retain businesses by reducing licensing and permitting costs and the decision-making time frame, according to a press release from the DECD.
Mayor Walter Ash Jr. said the designation means a lot to the city and that the efforts to make Belfast a desirable location for businesses have paid off.
“I'm tickled to death to get it in writing,” Ash said.
He continued by saying that businesses that were considering coming to Belfast may give it a second look when they see the signs stating the city is business-friendly.
In the DECD press release, Gov. Paul LePage weighed in on Belfast becoming a business friendly community.
"I want to congratulate and thank the City of Belfast for its continued commitment to business excellence," LePage said in the press release. "Belfast is one of the communities doing what it takes to partner with business and not put up unnecessary road blocks to new investment and job creation."
When asked where the signs would be installed in the city, Ash said he would like to see one on Route 3, one on Route 1 for people driving towards Belfast from Searsport and one on Northport Avenue. He said he would also like a small sign to hang in the council chambers.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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