Bridgton seeks to be ‘business-friendly’ community

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton is vying to become a certified “Business-Friendly Community” under a state program initiated by Gov. Paul LePage. If selected, the town will get its very own “Open for Business” sign, and gain an extra edge in competing for state grant funds.

The program, begun in March of 2012, has so far resulted in the naming of 13 certified “Business-Friendly” Communities that are willing to create opportunities for existing and new businesses. Most of the communities so named are larger than Bridgton, and are as follows: Auburn, Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Cumberland, Ellsworth, Fairfield, Guilford, Kennebunk, Lewiston, Lincoln, Pittsfield, Saco, Sanford, Topsham and Westbrook.

Anne Krieg, director of planning, economic and community development, got the go-ahead recently to submit a formal application. In her application, she cited her full-time job as evidence of Bridgton’s interest in attracting business, as well as the presence of both an active Community Development Committee and Comprehensive Plan Committee, both working to foster economic growth.

She also cited the work being done by the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation to help locate new business and work with current business owners. She noted that the BEDC works with the SAD 61 Adult Education office, which is represented on their board, “to support efforts to train and refresh the workforce in the region.” The BECD also has its own website and marketing material, and has attended networking conferences for businesses to tout the advantages of locating in Bridgton.

The assistance provided for new business proposals by Code Enforcement Officer Robby Baker and Executive Assistant Georgiann Fleck also was noted in the application. If selected, Bridgton will be able use the “Open for Business” logo on official community correspondence and receive bonus points in the state’s Community Development Block Grant programs.

 

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