At the Economic Development Workshop held by the Millinocket Town Council last week the subject of what is economic development was discussed. There were several answers to that, all of which were very good. Economic development encompasses a lot of areas from jobs to population numbers and the community itself.
When I think of successful economic development, the first place that comes to mind for me is Lincoln. Lincoln has had many devastating blows to itís economy such as the issues with their mill to the large tragic fire in their downtown district. All of which happened after Millinocket experienced its devastation.
Lincoln is a fine example of successful economic development. Maybe it is time for us to follow their example and bring successful economic development to our town.
When you take a look at Lincoln, you will see that they do not have an organization such as MAGIC, they have an Economic Development Assistant who works with their Town Manager. The funds they spend on economic development go directly to their town, not an entity or group unregulated by the town and unaccountable. While we have spent and not seen success, Lincoln has grown and developed- and continues to do so.
Some will say the reason for this is location, that may be an attributing factor, but it is not the entire reason for their growth.
Lincoln has funds and people working directly for Lincoln. They also do not have the division in their town that Millinocket has as a result of MAGIC.We can have economic development in Millinocket, but we need to make some changes. I strongly believe that the first step forward will be to stop spending our resources where there is no accountability and hire an Economic Development Director for Millinocket. I also support the comments by Councilors Gonya and Busque that the fighting needs to stop. I believe as long as MAGIC is involved, the issues will not change and the fighting will not stop.
Yes, economic development does take time, but when we look at what Lincoln has done in less time than we have been waiting for MAGIC to show results, I think itís time to follow Lincolnís example.