Yarmouth adds economic development advisory board

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YARMOUTH — The Town Council has formed an economic development advisory board to assist the town’s new economic development director.

Councilors on April 16 approved the board and appointed six members. They will work with Denise Clavette, who was hired in February as the town’s first economic development director.

“It was considered important to establish, sooner rather than a later, a kind of ‘brain trust’ to advise Denise, the economic development director, with the many challenges on the town’s development plate,” Town Manager Nat Tupper said in a press release.

In their first few months, board members will work with Clavette to determine the town’s most important development issues. This will then lead to developing a three-year economic development strategic plan.

Clavette said she is grateful to have a team behind her.

“It is a very real privilege to have access to these highly experienced individuals,” she said in a press release.

The six board members, all of whom live in or own property in Yarmouth, are Anita Demetropoulos, owner of Island Treasure Toys; Deborah Wathen Finn, president of the Wathen Group; Peter Haynes, retired president and CEO of Consumers Water Co. and Nynex Enterprises; Edward O’Meara Jr., managing principal/public affairs at Garrand; Peter Small, owner of a New York City-based consulting firm; and Brett Williams, president of the Northeast region of Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City-based engineering firm.

Carolyn Schuster, executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, is an ex-officio, or non-voting, member of the board. Schuster has also served since 2013 on the Yarmouth Economic Development Study Group, which recommended the town hire an economic development director and in October 2014 led the search to find someone for the position.

The board will meet monthly and members will serve three-year terms.

Clavette said she think the members’ knowledge of Yarmouth and its needs will be helpful and lead to successful development.

“Their familiarity with Yarmouth and the sensitivities that need to be borne in mind regarding community and economic development, as well as their network of contacts, should be of immense value in ensuring that our efforts meet, if not exceed, the town’s and Council’s expectations,” Clavette said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.