As part of Bangor's planning and land use process, the city has to come up with a "comprehensive plan." Typically done every 5 to 10 years, one aspect of that plan is to create an Economic & Development Strategy, according to Tanya Emery, Director of Community & Economic Development.
This strategy is developed by taking a look at how the city can position itself to attract investment, encourage business growth and job creation, and strengthen the economy for the community.
Emery said the economic and development strategy will then be used to guide investments and to put together a budget process. So that's what they are doing right now, and they need your help!
"What we're hoping to find out is: What do people love about Bangor? What do people want the future of Bangor to look like? What do people see as opportunities, particularly as it relates to the economy of the future?"
Emery says getting those answers will be a bit of a process.
"First we need to gather that information. Then we have to take that information and try to create a community vision. And then create strategies to help us accomplish that vision."
Emery says the city would like to hear from everybody.
"So typically in a municipal planning process, you want to hear from residents. But because Bangor really is the seat of the economy in the region, we want to hear from people who work here, who have started a business here. They may later head into Brewer or Hermon or Holden at night, but they're an entrepreneur here in Bangor or they might be considering it."
You don't have to live in the city to voice your thought or ideas.
"Because Bangor is really the service center for so much of Northern and Eastern Maine, we want to hear from people who primarily either live or work in Bangor or have ideas and thoughts about the region's economy to participate in the process. It is not exclusive. If you are not a Bangor resident we still welcome your input..."
Emery says there are a few ways to submit your ideas. The first is to go straight to the City's website, Bangormaine.gov/plan.
"If you go to that, that will tell you all about what we're doing, the questions we're asking. Then you can click a link to go to an interactive site where you can do one of 3 things: You can take a survey (It's very brief. It's easy.) You can drop a pin on an interactive map to tell us your ideas. Or you can do what's called a 'Community Vision Board' which is just 'Here's something I really love. Here's something I wish my community had or didn't have. Here's something I wish we could change.' Just really laying out your vision for the community."
Emery says the city will be taking feedback and comments throughout the month of November, and moving to have the Economic Development Strategy in place by the end of December.
"We have learned so much through these types of planning processes. And without rich community engagement, which is challenging in Pandemic times, the plan is not a good plan. We really feel it's important to reach out to everybody who feels compelled to offer their thoughts and visions for the community."