The University of Maine Regional Learning Center programs at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth are in full swing. As we reach more individuals, families and businesses from Falmouth and the region, we find that an increasing number are using the Metro bus service, including our employees.
When we secured the support of the UMaine System trustees to relocate to Tidewater Village, they agreed to do so in part because we would be on a public bus route that increased accessibility to our programs.
When we approached the Town Council for support of the Regional Learning Center, our extension economist estimated an annual economic benefit to Falmouth businesses of nearly $360,000. This is coming to fruition as our employees and clients are supporting local businesses. We envision a growing number of individuals from the region using the bus service to participate in our sustainable living programs at the center and farm.
In these challenging economic times we understand that municipalities are reassessing their budgets. In such times as these we find that individuals are relying increasingly on Metro to commute to jobs, area businesses and our learning center because of the loss of or cost of maintaining a personal vehicle.
I hope that maintaining accessibility to the UMaine Learning Center will be considered in the council’s decision about Metro service.
Doug Babkirk, extension educator
UMaine Cooperative Extension