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Gilman Place

May
16

21 Gilman Street in Waterville may soon hear the footsteps and laughter of young people again. The beautiful old high school, built in 1913 and empty for years, has been converted into 35 affordable, one, two and three bedroom ‘homes’.

I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Gilman Place Apartments yesterday, May 11, and was impressed not only by the spacious, sun filled apartments but by the commitment of those who made the project possible.

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Press Release: GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Favor of LD 769 “An Act to Review the Functions of the State Planning Office”

May
09

While GrowSmart Maine strongly supports the continued existence of the State Planning Office, we do think that many of the current responsibilities of the office go beyond the scope of an entity that exists to develop and coordinate policy and provide an overview on statewide planning efforts.

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Testimony in Opposition to LD 1416, “An Act To Provide Options to Municipalities Concerning the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code”

May
06

Because this bill would negate the statewide consistency of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, LD 1416 would remove one of the most significant accomplishments in bringing predictability and uniformity to business regulation in Maine.

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Transportation Committee Votes Unanimously Against Billboards!

May
05

Today the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation held a Work Session on LD 1405 "An Act To Amend the Laws Restricting Advertising on Public Ways", sponsored by Representative Dennis Keschl, which proposes to significantly expand the current limitations on on-premise signage. The Work Session follows a well attended Public Hearing held by the Transportation Committee on April 26th on this bill and LD 1367 which includes a provision to allow the limited use of billboards on state highways.

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Testimony on LD 1344, “An Act to Fund Commuter and Passenger Rail Transportation In Maine”

May
04

While GrowSmart Maine supports the proposal in LD 1344 which provides revenue from the operation of slot machines at the casino in Oxford County to the State Transit, Aviation and Rail Transportation Fund, we also recognize the importance of the current distribution of funds to the harness racing industry. We urge the committee to reexamine the total funding cascade with the purpose of providing both the development of passenger and commuter rail service to Oxford County and preserving much needed funding for the harness racing industry in the State of Maine. The accomplishment of both objectives will help to preserve Oxford County’s rural character and quality of life.

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Testimony on LD 1109 “Resolve, To Target Job Creation in the Agricultural Sector To Improve the Stability and Economic Strength of Rural Maine”

May
03

Farming is not quaint, and it is not easy. The work is physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. The challenges include the need for solid business planning and financial strategies, access to capital and to markets and inputs, and the limited opportunities for networking, support, and education. The cumulative effect can at times seem to far outweigh the benefits of a career in farming, and so it is well worth the effort to explore opportunities and solutions to the barriers Maine farmers face. When farmers are profitable, the communities in which they are located benefit as well. Local vendors, customers, neighbors, and workers all experience a better quality of life, and so I encourage this committee to work with this bill to put together the right people to identify innovative solutions, to strengthen rural Maine.

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Public Hearings on Billboard Legislation

Apr
27

On Tuesday, April 26th, the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation held Public Hearings on two bills which propose significant changes in the current regulation of highway signage. LD 1367, sponsored by Senator Doug Thomas, includes a provision which would allow the limited leasing of property for the placement of billboards on certain highways. LD 1405, sponsored by Representative Dennis Keschl, proposes to significantly expand the current limitations on on-premise signage.

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Press Release: GrowSmart Maine Testifies in Favor of LD 1446, “An Act To Establish the Maine Farm and Fish to School Program”

Apr
27

As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description . By creating a mechanism to enable schools to purchase more local foods for students, the success is measured in several ways. Our children are able to eat food that is more healthful, our farmers and fishermen are able to market their production locally. With healthier kids and stronger local small businesses, our communities are stronger as a result.

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Press Release: GrowSmart Maine Testifies on Billboards, Subdivisions and the Washington County Development Authority

Apr
27

As reflected in the 2006 Brookings Institute Report, “Charting Maine’s Future”, which was commissioned and paid for by GrowSmart Maine, Maine’s unique and enduring quality of place is a valuable asset in itself, as well as a powerful economic development resource. In fact, we believe that the current restrictions on advertising within public ways are extremely effective in protecting our state’s quality of place while allowing advertising and promotional efforts that are more than adequate to publicize various businesses and destinations.

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