State certifies Topsham as 'business friendly'

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TOPSHAM — The town has joined the growing ranks of Maine communities dubbed “Certified Business Friendly” by the state.

Topsham – along with Ellsworth, Fairfield and Kennebunk – earned the distinction in the third round of the program, according to a Nov. 27 press release. Eighteen communities have been recognized since the program started in March.

“We’re extremely pleased,” John Shattuck, Topsham’s economic and community development director, said Wednesday, noting that the distinction should give the town an advantage in certain community development block grant applications.

The certification program requires towns to submit three supporting letters from businesses; Topsham submitted eight, Shattuck said.

“We asked the business community for support, and it was overwhelming how positive and helpful they were,” he said.

The state praised Topsham for being friendly to businesses “not only through its full-time economic and community development director and its own economic development corporation, but also through its proactive use of (tax increment financing) to retain and recruit businesses.”

Customer service, input from the public, business involvement and collaboration, and licensing and permitting are among criteria considered. Topsham and the other designated communities receive a certificate and two Maine Department of Transportation road signs, and will become a piece of Maine’s business attraction strategy.

Bath was certified in a previous round of the program.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.