Newsletter - October 29, 2018

October 29, 2018

Hello Commissioners, Selectmen, Town Managers, State Representatives, Business Owners, Community Leaders and Citizens:

As promised, here is an update on our work:

For the past twelve months we have been focused on a deliberate outreach effort to hear from business leaders, citizens and elected officials at all levels. These conversations have informed our work. There is universal understanding that a healthy economy follows in communities that have addressed “quality of place”. 
Our current initiatives are:
Delivering our county-wide broadband plan and bringing it to implementation. Our plan has been recognized as a practical model for rural broadband solutions. A reliable high-speed internet connection is the cornerstone to economic and community development.
Workforce Development: working with employers, trade schools and Adult Ed to navigate our Department of Labor and Career Centers for mutual benefit.
Engaging CMP to offer them ways on how they can ‘benefit the communities in which they work’. Should CMP be successful with their transmission line we need to ensure that there is demonstrated Public Benefit for the whole of Franklin County.
A regional Branding and Marketing initiative that will organize and amplify the assets and experiences that our region can offer.
A regional Arts, Cultural and Heritage plan that will measure existing assets and find synergies to strengthen these assets and identify opportunities with untapped assets. 
The feedback from our outreach makes one thing clear, our political county boundaries are artificial and a hindrance to progress. Visitors do not seek out Franklin, Oxford or Somerset “county”. They seek an experience. We are focused on streamlining the answers to their questions and making them available on a website that connects to Chambers, Recreation, Real Estate, Schools, Arts & Heritage and Businesses.

The Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/Maine) was released in late September, discussing a vision and roadmap for Maine's forest products sector from now to 2025. This is a very relevant report for our region. Read it here.
Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. With the recent opening of the Freeman Ridge Bike Park as well as trail development efforts in Kingfield and Carrabassett Valley, there is a lot of energy right now in Franklin County to make the region a destination for the sport. Read "With new Kingfield area trails, Franklin County builds on reputation as mountain bike destination"on the Morning Sentinel.
This November, Mainers have a historic opportunity to invest in the state’s future workforce and economic prosperity by voting Yes on Question #4 : An Investment in Maine’s Future. A portion of the bond, $8.5 million, will be invested directly in Franklin County at the University of Maine at Farmington. Learn more about Question 4 here.

An additional reminder:
In September, you were sent a survey for a project by the High Peaks Initiative and Colby College which aims to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation economy in the region. Colby College completed a survey of the general public during the summer but is looking for data from local businesses in order to finish the project. Examples of businesses are: stores, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, camps, resorts, local guides and outfitters.  The data from this survey will be used to identify strengths and weaknesses so that we can develop action plans.   We have included the survey link here.  

Your feedback is welcome. If you want to hear more about these topics please contact me at


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