“For us, with the transformation of the mills closing and the communities changing, it's really important to have a person up there who on a day-to-day, on the ground basis can meet with people and leverage EMDC resources to create new opportunities,” said Lee Umphrey, EMDC president and CEO.
Former U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is now a selectman in East Millinocket and is the chairman of the Katahdin Region Development Board.
“If you look at the region, the reason I'm so optimistic about it, is not only do you look at the tourism aspect with Baxter State Park, the Monument, the Gil Butler land as well as the opportunity to utilize some of the abandoned or vacant mill lots throughout the region, not only in Millinocket and East Millinocket but also in Sherman, Island Falls and Patten.”
In addition to community development, the new economic development director's job is to know what's available and how it can be used by prospective businesses.
“I think it is a great opportunity to really focus on that,” Michaud said. “If something doesn't fit let's say in the Patten area, it might fit in East Millinocket. This economic development person will have the resources and the knowledge to be able to say, 'If it don't work there, how about here?"
A portion of the cost to pay for the new hire is coming from the $350,000 payment in lieu of taxes provided by the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and the rest is being provided by the Penobscot County Commissioners, who are tapping unused tax increment financing funds.
The new director will be hired by EMCD and will work directly with other groups, including Our Katahdin.
“It's a great place to live or raise a family,” Michaud said. “if you love the outdoors there is no better place than the Katahdin region.”
The job pays up to $70,000 based on experience plus benefits. Applications are being accepted until Jan. 2.