Monday, 31 December 2018 16:36

Economic development in 2018

Written by

STATEWIDE - Maine's economy has seen growth in 2018.

Over the past year, there have been some economic bumps in the region, including Macy's and Sears closing at the Bangor Mall.

 

Tanya Emery, director of economic development for the city of Bangor, says those larger companies are going through transitions.

 

"And we're seeing them on the ground, we're seeing them first hand," she said.

 

But overall, Maine's economy seems to be growing.

 

"We've got a lot of industries and that's important because just like you don't want to have all your eggs in one basket, you don't want to have all your jobs or all of your investments or economic development activities in one industry," Emery says.

 

"The more diverse we can be, the better our economy is when we weather those changes in the business cycle," says Emery. 

 

Emery says retail continues to grow for Bangor, and they are seeing an increase in downtown Bangor.

 

"We are thrilled to see that many of the spaces that were empty for a very long time are now filled up," she says.

 

She says the area around the mall has continued to expand with new construction.

 

"Some of the things on the outer ends of Stillwater [Avenue] that are filling in some of those empty places," Emery says.

 

The city of Old Town received good news about its paper mill, which has been sitting idle for approximately three and a half years.

 

It has been purchased by ND Paper, a Chinese company.

 

"And this group is very motivated to get this happening," Old Town Mayor David Mahan says.

 

The mill reopening will result in more than 120 new jobs. 

 

"As I've been saying for the past couple of weeks when this was announced it's not just Old Town. It's Milford, Bradley, the surrounding towns, that will stabilize jobs that are existing but it'll also add additional jobs on," Mahan said. 

 

Another city forecasting a future job increase is Ellsworth, thanks to the completion of the new Jackson Laboratory.

 

"We are helping the world, we're helping the world here in Maine through these genetically modified mice - 3 million of them that are raised and sold out of this facility," Former Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, says.

 

The new facility is expected to create 350 jobs in Ellsworth over a 10-year period as well as 135 new jobs at the existing location in Bar Harbor. 

 

Meanwhile, Central Maine Power has been getting mixed reviews about its plan to build a 145-mile transmission line to transport hydroelectric power from Quebec to Massachusetts.

 

The project involves building through the Kennebec River and other rural areas along the section of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Maine.

 

"Maine has a very high percentage of clean energy already. We don't need to have our pristine wilderness destroyed so that Massachusetts can get their tax credits from the federal government," says Long Pond Township resident Tanya Merette, who opposes the plan.

 

CMP spokesman John Carroll has a different view.

 

"As we make choices about what the next generation of our energy supply is going to look like, we think it should be clean and we think it needs to be reliable," he says.

 

Recently, voters in Somerset County voiced their opposition to the hydro-transmission line. They fear it will hurt eco-tourism in western Maine and damage the area's natural beauty.

 

Although nothing is set in stone, CMP officials say the project will bring in tax revenue, create construction jobs and result in energy savings for the area. 

Shonna Narine

Weekend Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Shonna Narine joined the ABC7 and FOX22 team in August 2017. Originally from Long Island (although she hides her accent for TV) she's excited to see what Maine has to offer.

She graduated from Five Towns College in D...