Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission
will assist Fryeburg in a new EPA initiative
to improve outdoor recreation opportunities
Saco, Maine...Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC) announced it will work with the town of Fryeburg, Maine and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a new initiative that aims to revitalize Main Streets in rural communities through outdoor recreation. Fryeburg is one of only ten towns in the country selected to participate in the new program. SMPDC will work closely with the town and EPA consultants to create a plan to improve outdoor recreation opportunities in Fryeburg.
Says SMPDC Executive Director Paul Schumacher, “Creating a plan that encourages outdoor recreation, uses vacant spaces, and creates a more walkable, thriving Main Street is an important step in revitalizing Fryeburg. This recognition and upcoming planning process is an exciting opportunity for the town and we are happy to offer our expertise as Fryeburg is one of 39 member towns in Maine who are part of the SMPDC.”
“We couldn’t be happier to have worked with SMPDC and be selected by the federal government for participation in this program,” said Katie Haley, Fryeburg Town Manager. “Our town is highly motivated to capitalize on bringing people to Fryeburg for recreation and boosting businesses in our lovely town.”
Erin Mayo, Head of School at Fryeburg Academy, says, “The Academy’s Outdoor Learning and Research Center provides experiential learning opportunities and adventure-based programs, with 63 acres adjoining the main campus serving as an outdoor classroom and recreational space. This project aligns with our desire to make Fryeburg a wonderful destination for students, families, residents, and tourists who want to experience all our town has to offer. We are excited to participate in this planning process!”
A planning team appointed by the EPA will help the ten selected rural communities create an action plan to grow the local outdoor recreation economy in ways that promote sustainable resource management and environmentally friendly community development. The recommendations could include building new trail connections, boosting downtown amenities, connecting nearby hiking-biking trails to downtown, and working to attract recreation-related economic opportunities. The planning process will take place over four to six months, with a two-day facilitated community workshop as the focal point. Participants will work together to identify a vision, goals, and specific actions to realize the locally set goals. The other communities selected for assistance include: Cambridge, New York; Giles County, Virginia; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Gorham, New Hampshire; Grants, New Mexico; Jasper, Alabama; John Day, Oregon; Poultney, Vermont; and Thompson Falls, Montana. Several of the selected communities are in or adjacent to Opportunity Zones, economically-distressed areas that can be designated for preferential tax treatment.
About the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission
Founded in 1964, SMPDC provides technical expertise to 39 municipalities in York, southern Oxford, and Cumberland Counties. SMPDC offers a coordinated effort for economic development and resource management, including environmental remediation, land use, and transportation planning.