Downtown study authorized

By Stephanie Grinnell | Dec 02, 2017

Searsport — Selectmen on Nov. 21 authorized spending up to $20,000 on a Downtown Planning Study and chose Wright-Pierce of Topsham to author it.

Town Manager James Gillway said much of the information already has been collected but has never been put together in one study.

“This is a chance to compile this stuff together,” he said, adding the study is needed if the town wishes to establish a Tax Increment Financing district to attract economic development.

Two bids were received for the study, one from CES and the other from Wright-Pierce. Gillway said both bids met the town's requirements for the study.

“I'd like to have some tools in the tool belt to attract business,” he said. “ … I know where downtown is but it may not be a complete picture.”

Gillway noted residents have emphasized the need for businesses that “fit” the town and he cited Camden as an example of a downtown with empty storefronts that has since boomed. The town manager said the money for the study will come from TIF funds.

Selectmen previously approved $18,000 for the study but Gillway requested additional money as a buffer. Selectmen unanimously approved spending up to $20,000 for the study.

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Stephanie Grinnell
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Stephanie is editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. She previously served as editor of Camden Herald following its return in April 2012.

Stephanie also was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has nearly a decade of experience in the newspaper business ranging from southern and central Maine to Waldo County.

Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.

Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and chickens.

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