Greg Paxton - On the Path to Community Improvement

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  • 1. On the Path to Community ImprovementGrowSmart Maine Summit October 23, 2012Greg Paxton, Maine Preservation
  • 2. What are Maine’s communities’ most valuable assets?• Citizens• Existing Tax Base
  • 3. Managing the Tax BaseAlternate title of the session: Making Eyesores into Assets.
  • 4. The ProblemSome view vacant buildings as an unfulfilled promise that needs to be eliminated.• An embarrassment• A failure• A visible sign of weakness
  • 5. The Solution• View buildings as opportunities• Think from the ground up not the sky down• Inventory your buildings, including condition• Seek incremental improvement to buildings• Inventory the community – what needs are missing?• Match opportunities to existing spaces
  • 6. Do one thing:Urge every new business to consider locating in downtown
  • 7. Do AnotherGet over the fear of historic preservation• Developed neighborhood rehabilitation – Charleston, 1955, Providence, Portland, etc.• Developed downtown revitalization – Main Street Program: 2,200 cities, 30 in Maine – Maine Downtown Center, Maine Development Foundation – “Economic development in the context of historic preservation”• Promotes tourism and retirees (2 big imports)
  • 8. Historic preservation is the most catalytic approach to revitalization in the country.Except for Las Vegas, experts cannot point to a city that has revitalized without historic preservation being a major component.Historic preservation is a bootstrap method for revitalization.The reason it works: When one owner of a historic building sees another owner fix his/hers up, they want to know how – and are spurred to imitate.Community appearance improves from the core out.
  • 9. The Approach• Either tackle the biggest problem with an all out concerted effort (requires talent & experience)• Or begin to make small improvements to build momentum• We’ll discuss both today.
  • 10. Downtown Augusta
  • 11. Downtown Augusta
  • 12. Downtown Augusta
  • 13. Downtown Eastport
  • 14. Downtown Eastport
  • 15. Downtown Eastport
  • 16. Downtown Eastport
  • 17. Dover FoxcroftMoosehead Manufacturing
  • 18. Dover FoxcroftMoosehead Manufacturing
  • 19. Dover FoxcroftMoosehead Manufacturing
  • 20. Dover FoxcroftMoosehead Manufacturing