Talk of the Towns 2/7/14*

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

*special date

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Topic: Practical approaches to local economic development

Guests: Jacquelyn Hewitt, consultant to Town of Mount Desert
Roger Bergen, Stonington Economic Development Committee
Rick Armstrong, Castine Economic Development Committee

Give us a thumbnail sketch of your town, what you know about the current economic mix, the demographics
What are the key assets that you are working from?
What are the economic challenges you are facing?
What has been your overall approach, and some of the specific tasks and accomplishments?
(For instance, Jackie will likely discuss early efforts by the town to develop the harbor and marina, current work around signage and wayfinding, funding for an “events” committee, helping to connect commercial developers/buyers with available properties and helping them research concepts for business development)

Discussion For all:
Each community has a mix of interests, including year round and seasonal residents… what is the balancing act like among those interests?
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas to pursue?
How do you blend local voluntary energy with expertise you might have to pay for?
What is the role of town government in your overall approach?
What does it take, in your town, to take something from “idea” stage to implementation?
How are your efforts connected to local chambers of commerce? Connections to any regional or state efforts?
Your work seems different than economic development strategies elsewhere to get companies to relocate (chasing smokestacks)… help us understand why you use the approach you do?
What policy changes would help your work… local and state level?
What are the long term outcomes you are hoping for in your community?

Closing: Any practical advice to listeners from other towns working on these issues… and what gives you hope?

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