06/15/18 Moosehead Economic News: Taking Care of Business - June Newsletter 2018

Welcome to Moosehead Economic News, the periodic newsletter of the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation (MLREDC).




Artisan Village Grand Opening on June 30th

Come celebrate the Grand Opening of Greenville’s Artisan Village on Saturday, June 30, at 35 Pritham Avenue on the downtown waterfront!

Festivities will begin at 11:00 a.m. with several artists demonstrating their craft, followed by a welcome and key remarks at 12:30 p.m. by MLREDC President Steve Levesque, Destination Development Specialist Donna Moreland, and Artist Kathy Perelka. The afternoon continues with a hands-on flower-arranging workshop, gift drawings, and entertainment by professional juggler Michael Menes for the whole family to enjoy. In case of inclement weather, the day’s festivities will be moved to the Center for Moosehead History” on Lakeview Street.

The Grand Opening launches our inaugural season, after a successful pilot last summer. Over the next 12 weeks, artisans from all over Maine – painters, photographers, woodcarvers, potters, basket-makers, jewelry-makers, fabric artists and more – will showcase their handmade arts and crafts. Be sure to stop by the Village’s brightly painted cottages, meet the artisans, and bring a bit of Maine home with you!


Public Outreach and Public Forums Scheduled – Join us!

The MLREDC Public Outreach Committee held an information meeting with the Monson Board of Selectman in April. The meeting was very successful with excellent dialogue. In early May the MLREDC Public Outreach Committee met with the Somerset County Commissioners. We updated them on the successes of the MLREDC/Brand Leadership Team (BLT) and our current goals. More importantly Ryan Edmondson provided the commissioners with an update on the Wayfinding project. Somerset County helped fund Phase 1. Somerset County helped fund Phase 1.

  1. Coming up:

- We will be holding a public forum on June 30, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. located at the Greenville Town Hall.
- Look for our information booth throughout the summer including on the 4th of July in Greenville, Monson Days and at the International Sea Plane Fly-In.
- We have a Donor Appreciation reception planned followed by a cook-out on August 16th before the Gazebo Concert Series with a rain date of August 23rd.
- Lastly we will be having the 1st Annual EDC banquet on September 10th at the Lakeshore House in Monson. Ticket information will be available soon. If your group or organization has questions concerning the EDC / BLT or is interested in an informational presentation please contact: Matthew St. Laurent at stlaurentmatthew@yahoo.com


Plans to Expand the Public WiFi System

The public WiFi system in downtown Greenville has been very popular and well used but currently only serves a portion of the downtown. In order to increase access to the WiFi system a plan has been developed to install 6 new hotspot locations. Four of them will complete the coverage in the downtown and two hotspot locations in Greenville Junction will provide WiFi access in that area as well.

A grant application has been submitted to the Northern Border Regional Commission to help fund the expansion. Notification of the grant award is expected by August 2018 and if awarded the project design would begin in the fall of 2018 with hotspot installations in May 2019 in time to be used for the 2019 summer season.

The WiFi system is an important part of the infrastructure system needed to improve visitor experience in the Moosehead Lake region. The system makes it easy for visitors to use their electronic devices to find and connect with local businesses and to find interesting and exciting activities in the area. It is well known that as the visitor experience is improved, the longer the visitor is likely to stay and they return more frequently—all of which results in more business and an improved local economy. For more information contact John Cleveland at jcleveland@cdcorp.org


Greenville Tract Designated a Federal Opportunity Zone

The Greenville Census Tract was included in as one of the Opportunity Zones by Governor Paul R. LePage. In February, the Department of Economic and Community Development began accepting public input regarding the designation of Maine’s Opportunity Zones. “We received feedback from across the state, said George Gervais, DECD commissioner. “In many communities, this program could be the catalyst to moving development projects forward by attracting much needed capital and ultimately benefiting not just that community but the entire state.”

Tracts were selected based primarily on identified investment opportunities where such investments would likely be met with success. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established this new economic development program, which provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who invest unrealized capital gains into so-called ‘Opportunity Funds’, dedicated to investing in established ‘Opportunity Zones’.

The Opportunity Zones program offers three tax benefits for investing in low-income communities through a qualified Opportunity Fund:

1. A temporary deferral of inclusion in taxable income for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund. The deferred gain must be recognized on the earlier of the date on which the opportunity zone investment is disposed of or December 31, 2026.

2. A step-up in basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund. The basis is increased by 10% if the investment in the Opportunity Fund is held by the taxpayer for at least 5 years and by an additional 5% if held for at least 7 years, thereby excluding up to 15% of the original gain from taxation.

3. A permanent exclusion from taxable income of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in an Opportunity Fund if the investment is held for at least 10 years. This exclusion only applies to gains accrued after an investment in an Opportunity Fund. For more information please contact Steve Levesque at: Steve Levesque at 207-841-9955; stevel@mrra.us


Map of Moosehead Lake Attractions Now Available

With the help of the Moosehead Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), the MLREDC Wayfinding Committee has finalized a map of Moosehead Lake public attractions. The map will be the basis for all of the information kiosks planned for Phase 2. We just received 15K printed copies of the map that will be distributed to local business and available at the Moosehead Visitor Center. We also have 30 laminated copies of the map that will be placed at key locations and a vinyl banner of the map that will be installed at the Greenville Junction Wharf soon. For more information contact: Ryan Edmondson at rv.edmondson@gmail.com


Two CDBG Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grants Awarded to Greenville

The Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) works with local municipalities and businesses to apply for and execute on Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Grants. This year, PCEDC worked with the Town of Greenville to submit two CDBG Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grants; the grants were to assist the Bartley Event Center and Northwoods Health & Wellness Center. We are excited to announce that Greenville was awarded both Grants; a total of 19 grants were awarded across the State.

Startup businesses and existing businesses both benefit from the CDBG Program. These dollars often provide much needed investments in capital, building modifications, or the purchase of raw materials. In the case of the Bartley Event Center and Northwoods Health & Wellness Center, these dollars help with the purchase of equipment needed to outfit each of these businesses. Both of these businesses were identified as critical additions to the Greenville Region amenities to support both the tourism economy and to retain and attract new residents to the region. If you are interested in learning more about the CDBG process, please contact Christopher Winstead at christopher.winstead@pcedc.org or via the telephone at 564-3638.


Moosehead Lake Region EDC to oversee hotel feasibility study for the Moosehead Region

The Moosehead Lake EDC is aggressively implementing several action plans focused on enhancing the region as a premier tourist destination in the State of Maine and have made some significant investments in our infrastructure and visitor experiences. One of the key initiatives this year, involves working on an effort to encourage the development of a mid-priced destination hotel and conferencing facility in the Greenville area – working with existing businesses or attracting new investment.

The need for this type of facility was recommended by both Roger Brooks in the Branding Action Plan, and Future IQ in our Regional Master Plan. To that end, The EDC will be commissioning a market analysis to determine the demand of a hotel/conference center in the Greenville area and is beginning the process of identifying appropriate sites in the area and are working with various property owners regarding their willingness to make their respective properties available and or partner on a project. While we all believe there is clearly a subjective need for such a facility in the region to enhance the destination experience, it will be helpful to have a more qualitative analyses that can demonstrate the true market feasibility of such a destination facility. Once complete, the MLREDC will combine the sites analysis and hotel feasibility study and prepare a marketing package to be made available to existing hotel owners and key property owners in the region, hotel developers and relevant investors. For more information, please contact Steve Levesque at 207-841-9955; stevel@mrra.us


Maine Woods Destination Rally a Success

On May 16-17, 2018, the Maine Woods Consortium hosted its 5th Maine Woods Destination Rally at Bartley’s Family Event Center in Greenville. The event brought more than 75 tourism leaders from across the state to the Moosehead area to learn about destination development work taking place locally, and to discuss Rural Destination Development strategies for the Maine Woods region.

Activities included:

- A guided tour of Moosehead Lake region destination assets – with stops at the Blair Hill Inn, Lily Bay State Park, and AMC’s Medawisla Lodge

- Discussions of emerging travel trends and balancing outdoor recreation with a dynamic forest products economy, and

- Scenario planning for High Potential Rural Destination Areas and the Maine Woods region.

The 2018 Rally will inform work the Consortium is doing with the consulting firm Future IQ to analyze future tourism trends, potential economic impacts, and destination development scenarios for the Maine Woods. For more information contact: Mike Wilson, Northern Forest Center; 207-767-9952; mwilson@northernforest.org


Piscataquis County Innovation Program

The Northern Forest Center and partners are offering financial support to help tourism providers in the Moosehead Lake and Katahdin Iron Works regions develop and implement innovations to improve their business performance.

This new program is grounded by a set of quality standards developed by the Center and other industry leaders through Maine Woods Discovery – a cooperative marketing initiative working to position the Maine Woods region as a top quality travel destination. Those standards, or best practices, include:

- Provide authentic outdoor and cultural experiences in the Maine Woods region, with activities supported by highly qualified guides, instructors and interpreters.

- Deliver excellent service in every aspect of the visitor’s experience.

- Provide well-maintained facilities and equipment that are clearly described in promotional materials and meet highest industry standards.

- Commit to environmentally responsible operations, conservation of the forest landscape, and respect for private forest landowners.

- Support local communities.

- Commit to meet or exceed applicable industry safety standards.

The Tourism Innovation Program will provide up to 50% of the cost to enable qualified businesses to engage top consultants and contractors to implement innovations that improve bottom line performance, expand job opportunities, and enhance the region’s destination appeal. The Center is working locally with the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation and Piscataquis County Economic Development Council as project partners to implement this new program which is expected to support approximately 15 businesses over five years with assistance generally ranging between $5,000 and $25,000. For more information contact: Mike Wilson, Northern Forest Center; 207-767-9952; mwilson@northernforest.org


Destination Moosehead Lake and Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation Affirm Collaboration

The officers of Destination Moosehead Lake and the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation recently reaffirmed the organizations’ shared commitment to continuing to support the advancement of ongoing destination development efforts as outlined in the Roger Brooks & Future IQ plans. The two organizations believe that continued collaboration between the organizations, as well as all others involved, is critical to our shared success moving forward and the incredible growth and development opportunities afforded to our community.


Update from Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation President

Steve Levesque, the MLREDC President, recently summarized the organization’s accomplishments as follows:

Completed a major branding initiative: “America’s Crown Jewel”; and regional Master Plan for the Moosehead Lake Region regional Master Plan for the Moosehead Lake Region

- Formed a Brand Leadership Team to help implement branding recommendations

- Developed a professional website promoting the Moosehead Lake Region

- Created a public WiFi system in part of downtown Greenville

- Secured a Master lease with the Town of Greenville for the management of the Town-owned Greenville Business Center building (GBC), former incubator building.

- Attracted a new manufacturing business and made energy efficiency improvements to the GBC

- Assisted several local businesses with expansion and connection to resources connection to resources

- Completed Phase 1 of Wayfinding project: Installed 80 new directional and location signs around the Moosehead Lake Region

- Secured logo and trademark for Moosehead Lake Region EDC and America’s Crown Jewel

- EDC and America’s Crown Jewel Developed an Artisan Cottage Village in downtown Greenville

- Implemented the visitor experience initiative in downtown Greenville and with new benches, large flower containers & trash receptacles

- Assisted the Northern Forest Center with a downtown Greenville business façade improvement pilot program

The MLREDC’s priorities for 2018 are:

- Expand the public WiFi system in downtown Greenville

- Develop and actively manage a Business Visitation Program for the region

- Work with State and regional economic development organizations to enhance broadband

- Facilitate the redevelopment of key downtown Greenville properties

- Install informational Kiosks with promotional materials in the region

- Expand the Artisan Cottage Village in downtown Greenville

- Work with the Town of Greenville on the creation of a downtown TIF District and other funding strategies to support downtown improvements

- Conduct a feasibility study for hotel/conference center

- Develop a business site assessment and attraction strategy

- Secure funding to complete phases 2 & 3 of regional Wayfinding project.

- Develop a sustainable financial model and implement an expanded fundraising effort to support MLREDC activities


Moosehead Marine Museum Partnership to Tell Story of Sunken Ships

Moosehead Marine Museum is partnering with Ryan Robbins, founder of Moosehead Lake Divers, to identify and capture video of the sunken remains of at least three known wrecks in Moosehead Lake. The documentary, titled Sunken Steamboats of Moosehead Lake, will tell the story of steamboat history on Moosehead Lake by combining underwater footage of steamboat remains with historic still images and video oral history interviews. The goal of the project is to research, document, and disseminate information about Moosehead Lake’s steamboating past. With a $5,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser our team was able to conduct and film six interviews with area residents who either were involved with the Steamboat Katahdin or who remember the days when boats steamed on Moosehead Lake. During 2018 we will conduct several more interviews. All interviews will be transcribed and both the video and transcriptions will be accessioned into our collection. Weyerhaeuser’s grant proved a catalyst for additional support. MMM received $10,000 grants from Libra Foundation and the Fisher Charitable Foundation and we’ve just learned that we will be receiving $5,000 from Bangor Savings Foundation. With these funds we have purchased equipment needed to film the submerged remains of three or more wrecks during the summer of 2018. During the winter of 2018/2019 we will edit the final cut of the documentary and we anticipate a “Premier Party” aboard the Katahdin during the summer of 2019. The film will be shown in our museum and we hope to share it through other channels such as the Maine Memory Network and public television.

For filmed footage and progress updates, visit www.mooseheadsteamboats.com (Excerpted from Moosehead Marine Museum newsletter)


For more information about news and activities contact:

Steve Levesque at 207-841-9955; stevel@mrra.us or visit MLREDC’s informative website: www.mooseheadlakeedc.com

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/MLREDC/




To submit articles for future newsletters contact: Karin Tilberg, Karin@fsmaine.org


MLREDC Board of Directors 2018:

Joe DiAngelo, Secretary

William Fletcher

Amanda Hunt

Steve Levesque, President

Donna Moreland

Geno Murray, Treasurer

Jesse Crandall, Greenville Town Manager

Rebekah Anderson

Karin Tilberg

Paula St. Laurent, Vice President

Drew Watson

Craig Watt

Luke Muzzy

Margarita Contreni

Matthew St. Laurent

Christopher Winstead

Ruth McLaughlin

Ryan Edmondson

Brand Leadership Team (BLT) Members 2018

Amanda Hunt, BLT Chair

Donna Moreland

Bonita Doughty

Shana Cirulli

Bre Graffam

Matthew St. Laurent. Public Speaking Committee Chair

Margarita Contreni, Artisan Village Chair

Bonnie Dubien

Andrew Gravelle

Ruth McLaughlin, Downtown Experience Committee Chair

Sally Johnson

Ryan Edmondson, Wayfinding Committee Chair