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Waldo news

By Sadie Lloyd Mudge | Apr 30, 2021

Hello Waldo!

I’ve been thinking a lot about small towns like ours here in Maine. With the increased demand since the start of the pandemic for quiet, beautiful places with land and breathing room to escape more crowded locations, our small towns (especially near the coast like we are) have become a hot commodity.

Local families looking for their first home, or older folks looking to downsize in preparation for retirement, are pretty much out of luck. On top of that, other living expenses are more expensive too. I was surprised to see during a recent visit to the Belfast Co-op that prices have gone even higher than during peak pandemic days. More reason to grow your own this summer.

Our house was built without any closets. With the help of my dad we’ve been able to add some here and there, but with a baby now, storage is at a crisis point. We are building a garage in May, and so I am also familiar with the cost of building materials. Our builder said it best: there is a lot of demand from new people coming here from out of state, but they’re used to higher prices and aren’t bothered by current prices. So the demand will continue and as we all know, prices don’t just suddenly drop.

Restaurant prices have been up, of course, and continue to rise, understandably, as they try to hold on and stay in business until things go back to “normal.” Suddenly nothing is affordable anymore, and there is no longer a quality=price metric. Everything’s expensive and not everything is good.

My master's degree is in community planning and development, and I’ve spent part of my career in planning. These factors circle around my mind; how do we support local people? How do we ensure people can stay here; that young families can continue to be a part of our community? That we maintain the small amount of diversity we have (and hopefully attract more)?

Food programs are great, but there is a whole segment of our population that can afford food but are being pushed out by limited to no housing option. This has gone far beyond the lack of rental housing.

To be clear, I am not being critical of people “from away”; both my parents and my husband’s parents are from away. As someone who has spent a good amount of time away, I really enjoy having new people here and being able to connect with those who bring different backgrounds and experiences.

What do we do when people in our communities can’t afford to stay here, or even buy healthy food here?

On another note, the Belfast Post Office has let me know that they are looking to fill six delivery positions. We share a ZIP code with Belfast so they are our home post office. Delivery positions start at $19/hour if anyone is interested. You may have noticed that service seems a little off lately; I’m hoping to be able to provide you with an update on that soon. Thank you to our local community members who staff and manage our local postal service; it’s no easy job right now!

Tomorrow is May 1; how exciting to be facing the best and brightest months ahead here in Maine, especially as more and more of us are vaccinated. I can imagine friends and family gathering at barbecues again, beach days with girlfriends, and extended family finally getting to meet the baby (who won’t be a baby much longer!). Have a great week.


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