Happy Holidays from SMPDC

From all of us, thanks for your continued engagement and support. We are grateful to work with so many

wonderful communities.

Welcome, James Rather!

James comes to us from the planning departments in Portland most recently, and NYC for 12 years prior. In his new role as Director of Strategic Initiatives, James will oversee many projects, including a regional broadband initiative providing leadership in economic development.

James grew up outside of Boston and got a master’s degree at UMass Lowell in urban planning. Says James, “​I'm an omnivore when it comes to my planning practice - I'm interested in every last facet of it, from housing, to transportation, to urban design, as well as environmental planning, and to understanding the causal chain between an idea of what a given parcel of land could be - and what it could solve." James lives in Saco with his partner and five year old son. He enjoys cycling and recently started computer coding as a hobby.

Comprehensive Economic Strategy Plan Complete

The SMPDC Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was completed this fall, which sets forth the economic development goals for our region over the next five years. The plan also includes extensive recent economic data about the region, available in the full report.

The plan narrows the five year economic strategy into four primary goals:

  • Make Southern Maine the top location for high-paying, high-skill employment in Northern New England.

  • Support local and regional ecosystems for entrepreneurial and business startups throughout the region.

  • Work with local communities to protect and improve the region’s diverse communities, landscapes, and amenities.

  • Build on the region’s competitive advantages to grow, attract, and retain businesses in five key sectors: 1) Healthcare & Life Sciences 2) Technology 3) Advanced Manufacturing 4) Tourism 5) Creative Economy

Learn more about our Membership Dues!

SMPDC has some of the lowest membership dues statewide. Your contribution functions as the basis for all our operations.

Read on to see some of the many benefits your dues “do” for you! 

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SMPDC awarded Regional and Tribal Broadband Partners

The Maine Connectivity Authority has announced SMPDC will receive a $250,000 grant award to participate in the Regional and Tribal Broadband Partners Program. The new program will help deploy, sustain, and maximize the benefits of broadband infrastructure investment statewide. We are excited to be a part of this initiative and ready to play a more active role in advancing improved broadband solutions and digital equity in our region.

Read more about the program goals and other awardees here. 

SMPDC Awarded Second Service Provider Grant

The SMPDC Regional Sustainability and Resilience Program has received a second Service Provider Grant for $22,500 to assist the communities of Wells and Ogunquit with enrolling into the Community Resilience Partnership (CRP). For communities to enroll, they must complete self-evaluations, host a community workshop, and identify priority projects to address climate change in their community.

Once enrolled, communities can access up to $50,000 Community Resilience Grants which can advance sustainability and coastal resilience projects in the town or city. SMPDC has been assisting the communities of Berwick, Eliot, Old Orchard Beach, and Fryeburg with enrollment through the first Service Provider Grant since earlier this year. 

If your community is interested in enrolling in the partnership, contact Karina Graeter.

EDA Economic Assessment expanded to include final three coastal communities

SMPDC has recently allocated funding to expand the GIS assessment of vulnerability to sea level rise and coastal hazards to include Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach.

This work is an extension of the Economic Resilience Planning for Coastal York County project which concluded earlier this year. The project developed interactive mapping tools to visualize vulnerability to sea level rise and coastal hazards in Kittery, York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

By extending the assessment up the coast, we will have the full York County coastline assessed for vulnerability to coastal storm surge flooding, under 1.6ft and 3.0ft sea level rise scenarios.

To learn more about this project, visit our website.

Climate Ready Coast begins new project phase 

The Climate Ready Coast – Southern Maine project has entered a new and exciting phase of work aimed at drafting recommendations for specific climate resilience projects in ten coastal communities.

The project has collected vast information about coastal hazards, culminating in a Regional Coastal Vulnerability Assessment and associated web-based mapping decision support tool which details hazard exposure and risks to human and ecological assets in the region. The most recent project workshop brought stakeholders from all along the coast to collectively identify priority sites for coastal adaptation.

SMPDC is in the process of selecting a consultant to assist the project team with recommending adaptation strategies and nature-based solutions to address regional vulnerabilities, reduce flood risk, and make those 15 priority sites more resilient to coastal hazards. This phase will result in general and site-specific adaptation strategies and visual renderings of those strategies for each of the 15 priority areas. Identified strategies will form the base of the project’s final work product, a regional coastal resilience plan.

To follow along with project progress, visit the Climate Ready Coast website. 

Traffic and Safety Projects Kick Off

The SMPDC Transportation team is regularly taking on projects to better understand the traffic and safety challenges of our region. Most recently, projects in Wells and Berwick will result in recommendations for long-term improvements to regional corridors Route 1 and Route 4. 

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Funding for Communities

EPA Recycling Grant Opportunities - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new recycling grant opportunities funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Applications are due Jan. 16


FY22 FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance - The fiscal year 2022 application period for the Hazard Mitegation Assistance grants opened on Sept. 30, 2022, and will close January 27th. This includes the BRIC and FMA programs.

  • Flood Mitigation Assistance Program - provides funds to state, local, tribal and territorial governments to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

FY23 (RAISE) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity discretionary grant program - The Department of Transportation has announced a new round of RAISE funding for FY23. Provides grants for surface transportation infrastructure projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. Grant window closes on February 28, 2023.

These grants and more on our webpage - Grants and Other Funding.

SMPDC In the News

Report finds outdoor recreation racks up $188M in annual sales in southern Maine - MaineBiz

Wells: Sea rise is “a slow-moving catastrophe” - The Maine Monitor

Partnership created to oversee transit and housing initiatives related to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard grant - Portland Press Herald

Work on the Eastern Trail could expand rapidly in the coming decade - Portland Press Herald

Maine’s decades-old flood maps don’t always factor in sea rise and climate change - The Maine Monitor

Remember to follow us on social media for more frequent news and updates, or reach out to learn more.

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