Staying: Manoian passes on job offer

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

The rumors of his leaving town are highly exaggerated.

Alan Manoian, director of Bridgton’s Office of Economic and Community Development, confirmed Tuesday he has passed up an offer he received a few months ago to take a job next month, at twice the pay, to become a commercial loan officer for a bank in Nashua, N.H.

“I hope to serve the Town of Bridgton for many years to come,” Manoian said.

He admits the offer was tempting, and that at some point he’ll have to start thinking ahead to his retirement years. But for now, there are many projects his office has embarked upon that are still in the formative stages — and to leave now would be “a dishonorable thing to do.”

There’s development of a form-based code, working with the Comprehensive Plan Committee; planning and construction of a new sidewalk system along Portland Road, working with the Maine Department of Transportation; and redevelopment of the Bridgton Memorial School site, working with the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation; there’s updating the Comprehensive Plan and the downtown’s wastewater disposal system, with an eye toward extending sewer lines beyond the downtown; revitalizing Pondicherry Square; there’s the Rufus Porter Museum historic restoration and downtown redevelopment and redevelopment of the old A&P Store.

The list goes on. Just recently, he spoke with Lisa Cavanaugh, executive director of Community Dental Inc. and said they’re considering an alternative location to the Bridgton Hospital Campus — somewhere in the downtown. And he’s been working for months with the Macdonald family (of Macdonald Motors) on a site plan that would replace the buildings they own in Pondicherry Square with a new two- or three-story building oriented both to Main Street and Stevens Brook.

“Right now, I’m working with a high-end restaurateur on a game-changing restaurant experience (for the Macdonald properties), the likes of which Bridgton’s never seen. The individual is interested in a long-term lease,” he said.

The project needs more to make it work, and nothing has been signed. It might not happen, but if it does, riverfront property owners at the Square like Jamie Potter of Potter Place, among others, stand ready to work with him on developing a much-anticipated Riverfront Walk promenade that could extend all the way to Pondicherry Park.

Oct. 18 of next month will mark the beginning of his fourth year of service working for the town, at an annual salary of around $46,000. The commercial loan officer’s job offered a starting pay of $90,000. But he said his reputation as an economic planner is worth more.

“I’m staying because we’re really going to see the wonderful results of rebuilding the structural foundation of Bridgton,” said Manoian.

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