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Maine Downtown Center selects Houlton for Revitalization Roadmap

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton’s historic Market Square and Main Street  business area will soon have a roadmap for its future thanks to the Maine Development Foundation.

The Maine Downtown Center, a program of the Maine Development Foundation, announced July 1 that Houlton was selected as the partner community for its “Downtown Revitalization Roadmap” project.

That project will include a 7-10 week study of the area, including downtown visioning, a downtown assessment (ordinances, business health and building conditions), public input and strategic recommendations (tasks, initiatives or policy suggestions). 

The group’s recommendations will be grounded in short- and long-term achievable goals that are highly action-oriented and use existing resources or are no- and low-cost for implementation.

“This project will give Houlton the tools they need to move their community forward,” said Anne Ball, Maine Downtown Center director. “Houlton has done much of the ground work to improve their downtown and this project will position them to continue their revitalization efforts.”

Houlton has been a Maine Downtown affiliate community for a number of years, and has demonstrated the capacity to complete the project and also to implement the strategies from the plan when it is completed, the report stated.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected for this project to benefit Houlton’s beautiful historic Downtown,” said Nancy Ketch, Houlton’s Community Development director. “We extend our sincere thanks to the Maine Downtown Center for making this opportunity available to our community. The timing seems absolutely perfect for us to participate in this type of a process.  We are looking forward to getting underway and encourage the public to get involved.” 

Downtown Redevelopment Services, LLC, will be facilitating the project, Ketch said. 

“The goals this study will come up with will all be achievable goals that can be accomplished in three to five years with available resources,” Ketch said. “We already have plans that are of the ‘dream big’ nature. This study will be far more practical.”

As part of its research, officials from the Downtown Redevelopment Services will tour Houlton to conduct an assessment of buildings, speak with current business owners, and review the town’s overall business environment. A public meeting will be held to gather ideas from residents.

“With all of the stuff going on in our downtown lately, with everything from new businesses opening to new property owners, it feels like we are on the verge of things happening,” Ketch said.

There is no cost to the town for the assessment services. Houlton is one of 17 Maine Downtown Affiliates and one of four in Aroostook County. The Maine Downtown Center provides vital programming and guidance to towns across Maine and is a one-stop shop for revitalizing Maine downtowns.

To learn about the program and how your community can get involved, visit http://mdf.org/mdc_overview.php.

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