Pilot Communities

Ten Centers of Opportunity

As the economic driver of the state, the Southern Maine region is predicted to experience significant growth in the coming years. This growth is a great opportunity for improving the region but if not dealt with carefully it could threaten the wonderful sense of place that is such an asset to the region.

To examine the opportunities and challenges that local communities will face in dealing with this growth, we decided to ask Southern Maine communities to volunteer a location in their town for us to use as “learning laboratories”. These locations would be examined with the idea of learning how to create vibrant, lively places positioned to attract the next generation of jobs and housing growth in Maine. While the communities will work with the Sustain Southern Maine team in good faith, they are under no obligation to adopt any recommendations. This allows the Sustain Southern Maine team and each community to explore and present a full range of ideas to the public without pre-supposing what might be acceptable.

To determine which towns were interested, we sat down with town officials and planners and explained the process. Fifteen said they wanted to be part of this experiment, indicating they had already identified locations where they actively wanted both commercial and residential growth. A few of the other communities did not want growth in their towns at all; many others supported the process, but preferred to take advantage of what was learned from their neighbors. From the fifteen, using a predetermined set of criteria, the Sustain Southern Maine team selected nine locations to be pilot Centers of Opportunity. We made sure to select a wide variety of communities from across the region, including those from rural, suburban and urban areas.

Details on what we will be evaluating in each Pilot Center can be found at the links below.

From north to south, the nine communities selected are:

To find out more information about a particular pilot center click on it in the list above.