Falmouth molds game plan for economic growth

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FALMOUTH — The town’s first economic development strategy has begun to take shape, with four broad goals identified in a first draft of the plan.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said the first goal of plan, which was drafted with the help of Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs, New York, is to enhance Falmouth’s economic development climate.

“That’s really geared to how are we doing business, are we engaging with businesses enough, do we have a user-friendly permitting process, do businesses have good access to us?” Poore said.

The second goal is to enhance Falmouth’s recruitment, creation, retention, and expansion efforts for commercial businesses. The third goal is the same as the second, but geared towards retail businesses. The fourth goal is to cultivate Falmouth’s innovation and entrepreneurial climate.

Poore said the plan has more than 60 implementation items. It looks at each implementation and determines if it’s a high, medium or low priority, and whether it is a short- or long-term goal.

“That’s probably the part of the plan that needs work more than anything else,” Poore said, referring to setting priorities.

He said most of the implementation strategies are listed as high priority, to be done in the short term – within the next six months. A mid-range time-frame is one to two years, and long-term is two to five years.

“Not how long it will take to see results, but to actually implement the strategic tasks,” Poore said.

With the predominance of the 60 items being listed as high priority, he noted, “there’s only so much the committee and staff can accomplish in the first six months.”

An example of a high-priority goal would be improving infrastructure and transportation networks that better serve the business community, Poore said. A medium priority goal would be encouraging the development of more Class A office space.

Specific implementation times are not set in stone, he added, and public input from a second community forum that was scheduled to be held Tuesday night could help Camoin and the Falmouth Economic Improvement Committee make decisions and tweak the priorities.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.