Regional economic development consultants gather business perspectives

Posted:  Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 8:15am

Improving our local economy in ways that build on the region’s assets is a high priority for each town in the Boothbay peninsula. On Sept. 6, senior staff from the economic development planning consultant team hired by the Joint Economic Development Committee (JEDC) conducted small group interviews with more than 70 private and nonprofit business leaders and community members. Their goal was to hear first-hand from local stakeholders about the opportunities and barriers to promote economic development across the Boothbay region.

“We are very pleased with the participation and enthusiasm from community partners,” said Jim Damicis, senior vice president at Camoin & Associates. “Those we interviewed represented a diverse cross-section of the region’s economy and their insights will help us develop economic strategies to leverage the many assets that exist in this region.”

In June, the towns of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor entered into a contract with Camoin & Associates, a nationally recognized economic development consulting firm, to develop a roadmap for the region’s future. Having a regional strategic master plan can help mobilize ideas, energy and resources from public and private sector organizations to diversify and strengthen our local economy.

The Camoin consulting team, which includes senior staff from engineering firm, Wright Pierce, and MRLD Landscape Architecture + Urbanism, was also charged with conducting a comprehensive Economic Base Analysis of the Boothbay region. A draft of that analysis is currently under review by the JEDC.

Drawing on the information provided in the interviews and the regional economic analysis, the next step in the strategic master plan development process will be a community master plan workshop on Oct. 12. In the workshop, participants will focus on strategies to improve the region’s infrastructure, downtown development, workforce housing and our long-standing tourism economy.

Camoin anticipates providing their final recommendations and a strategic action plan by the end of the year.

The JEDC was appointed in 2015 by the select boards of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor for the purpose of enhancing economic growth and prosperity through a process that builds on the assets of the Boothbay peninsula while preserving the quality of life for the residents in our region. The group also includes representatives from Southport and Edgecomb.