Krieg resigns as Bridgton’s economic director
By Wayne E. Rivet
As Anne Krieg read an advertisement sent to her to consider, the more she read the more she became intrigued.
“I looked into the position and what it entailed and it interested me,” Krieg said. “I have never done regional planning so it’s a good career move for me to have a new challenge, but still apply the skill set I have amassed in the last 25 years!”
Krieg is leaving Bridgton as its director of planning, economic and community development next month to accept the position as director of the Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission in Rockland.
The Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission (MCRPC) is a nonprofit organization that provides a wide range of land use, transportation and economic planning services to its member communities in Waldo and Knox Counties, Maine. These services may either be at no cost to communities or provided on a contract-for-fee basis, depending on the type and level of service.
The service area includes: Appleton, Belfast, Belmont, Brooks, Camden, Cushing, Friendship, Hope, Islesboro, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Lincolnville, Monroe, Montville, Morrill, North Haven, Northport, Owls Head, Rockland, Rockport, Saint George, Searsmont, South Thomaston, Swanville, Thomaston, Union, Vinalhaven, Waldo, Warren and Washington.
The commission has an eight-member executive board.
Krieg submitted her letter of resignation to Bridgton Town Manager Robert Peabody Jr. last Wednesday, Jan. 11.
“This position relocates me to be closer to my family (Bar Harbor) and offers a new challenge in regional planning,” she wrote in her letter. “It has been overall a positive experience and we have done some great things in Bridgton, and there will be more to come, I am certain. Your support as a manager has been the best I have ever received so please accept my gratitude for your hard work and service. My skills have grown here and I am proud of my service to the community. The department heads here also are the best I have ever worked with and I will miss them immensely.”
Krieg plans to outline work she expects to complete before moving on. Her start date with the Mid-Coast Commission is Feb. 21.
“I asked for a lengthy time to commence my new position so I could prepare the office adequately for the next director here,” she wrote. “I will also prepare a project list with tasks to be done after I leave.”
Manager Peabody praised Krieg’s work since she became the town’s planner back in 2012.
“I believe the town was fortunate to find an individual having expertise in all three. Of the three, economic development is the hardest to measure success as one's efforts may take years to bear fruit. It is all about networking, being a presence at meetings, trade shows, events and effectively finding ways to promote the Town,” Peabody said. “Anne has proven herself to be a great cheerleader for the town and I believe Bridgton will continue to enjoy the fruits of her labor in the upcoming years. Her work in guiding the writing of the Comprehensive Plan and its successful adoption by the Town and approval by the state speak for itself.”
Peabody said the planning position encompasses three separate functions: economic development, community development and planning. Each function has different responsibilities and in many larger towns are separate positions, though community development and planning are often combined.
Currently, Krieg is working with the Land Use Committee in developing zoning. She has been involved with all aspects of the community from the social agencies, to volunteering at events and cooking at the Community Dinners. She oversees the Community Block Grant Program and works with the Community Development Committee, Economic Committee, Events Committee and Wastewater Committee.
“Her expertise is recognized by her peers and she has been called on to speak at events on a number of occasions. This is just an overview of all she does and she will be a tough act to follow,” Peabody said. “I have enjoyed working with her and will miss her ‘can do’ attitude.”
Peabody said the vacant position (currently budgeted for $55,582) will be advertised in the near future, and he will ask selectmen to appoint an interview committee. The last time the town sought a planner, 15 people applied.
News of Krieg’s resignation was met with disappointment and high praise from community leaders.
Madelyn Litz, a Greater Bridgton-Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce director, felt Krieg worked hard to market Bridgton.
“Over the years, as a Chamber director, BEDC (Bridgton Economic Development Committee) board member and as an educator, I developed a great professional and personal relationship with Anne and will miss her greatly,” Litz said. “She worked hard to market our town through a variety of activities and resources and truly knew the ins and outs of town, county and state government and regulations. It will be a great loss to Bridgton to lose the person who so actively spearheaded our town’s economic development and growth.”
Litz added, “She was a dedicated representative of the Town of Bridgton, worked tirelessly to promote our Town's assets to anyone with whom she communicated, and is an experienced and talented professional. I wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
Chamber Executive Director Sue Mercer echoed those comments.
“Anne has been such a good partner and friend to the Chamber. She has been a staple, representing the Town of Bridgton at our After Hours, Ribbon Cuttings and events. Always available to bounce an idea off of or to ask ‘what’s going on’ with such and such,” Mercer said. “Anne always greeted me and our Board, with a kind word and a warm, genuine smile — she will be missed. We wish Anne all the best with her new position!”
Carmen Lone, executive director of the Bridgton Community Center, knew from the moment she was introduced to Krieg that the town had hired a “special person.”
“Instead of making proclamations about her plans for Bridgton, Anne made every effort to meet with people to learn about the culture of our town,” Lone said. “Throughout her employment in Bridgton she continued to listen to the people. Through every project she worked on, she found ways to bring people together in comfortable settings where conversations could flow.”
Lone said a few of the projects that stood out to her were Depot Street redevelopment, the Comprehensive Plan, Bike Maine and the Lake Region Bus.
“Anne has always been available and willing to volunteer to help further make things work,” Lone said. “She cooked at the Bridgton Community Center’s Community Kettle dinners, worked tirelessly on the Village Folk Festival, masterfully coordinated Bike Maine, pitched in on the Festival of Lights and attended BCC’s Senior Lunch. Before Anne, my knowledge of Community Development Block Grants was minimal. Anne took the time to repeatedly make clear the process, purpose and possibilities.”
Sense of accomplishment
As she looked back on her time in Bridgton, Anne Krieg feels a sense of accomplishment.
“I started in April of 2012. The highlights for me include the Depot Street renovation project, bringing BikeMaine to Bridgton, the zoning work from the past year (hey, I’m a planner, we love working on zoning!) and the public outreach I did to connect people with their government better, as in informal discussions/conversations I have had, the workshops, and all the meetings over coffee with businesses and potential businesses,” she said.
What will she miss about Bridgton?
“I will miss my fellow department heads and our town manager, Bob — they are all topnotch people and my relationships with them made the decision to leave the most difficult as they are wonderful people, who do great work, and are fun to be around!” she said. “My parting plug is for people to see the people working in this building as truly amazing. I will also miss the people in Bridgton that supported my work, and I am honored and humbled to say that list is too long to write here. Bridgton is beautiful, for certain, but what makes it a great place to locate is its people. I will assuredly also miss the beauty here. I grew up vacationing in the Finger Lakes region and the Adirondacks in New York so Bridgton always felt familiar, like home.”
What direction does Krieg see the town heading?
“Bridgton is on the edge teetering into a market explosion. It will take a few more investment projects to bring it there; but once these projects are completed, watch out. There is a lot of outside interest in investment into this community that I have fostered in the background, so they are hovering to wait for projects like a new wastewater system, a new downtown streetscape program, and a new recreation center to be built. Those three projects will push the town into welcoming some pretty great investments and developments,” Krieg said.
As to the key issues and challenges facing the town, Krieg said with potential growth comes great responsibility.
“The town will need to get ready to mold the town the way the people want; that is, putting in zoning to welcome development into specified areas. The town needs to have the difficult conversations about growth and development; the comprehensive plan outlines the where and the what for development, and the zoning is the result of that work,” she said. “The residents will have to look carefully at this work to ensure it continues to meet their expectations for how Bridgton will change and grow.”
In her eyes, what is Bridgton’s future potential?
“Bridgton has the potential to building on its regional draw for goods and services, and, to become part of the A-list of tourist destinations in Maine,” she said.