Media Archive

Piscataquis County group marks economic strides

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, December 03, 2003

By Diana Bowley
of the NEWS Staff

DOVER-FOXCROFT - Over the past five years, a large group of residents - through the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council - has made great strides toward improving the economy in the region, according to members of the organization.Those strides were celebrated Monday when the PCEDC held its annual meeting in Dover-Foxcroft.

As Jane Jones, Milo town manager and outgoing council president said Tuesday, the group is always prepared to accept new ideas, embrace them and follow them through.

"With the extraordinary difficulties the entire region has experienced recently, the PCEDC has provided the one bright area where all people of the county have been able to come together to reverse those trends," Jones said. That has been accomplished by helping retain the businesses now in operation and by bringing new business to the area, she said.

One member who has devoted much time and effort to the PCEDC and to his community was recognized Monday. Owen Pratt, Dover-Foxcroft town manager, was given the Pete Myrick award.

Forging partnerships along the way has helped the council with its economic development efforts, according to Matt Earnest, incoming president.

Those partnerships forged with educators, municipalities and state agencies helped bring JSI Store Fixtures and nearly 60 jobs to Milo, and Creative Apparel and more than 50 jobs to Dover-Foxcroft. In addition, assistance was provided to LAMCO of Guilford, a business making solid fuel arms for refueling; the development of Penquis High Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft, the county's first higher education facility; the Maine Highlands Guild, which has more than 90 artisans and crafters enrolled; and the Penquis Leadership Institute. It also helped to secure nearly $1 million for a wood composites business incubator in Greenville.

Over the past five years, more than 100 businesses have received direct counseling by PCEDC or through allied agencies, according to Mark Scarano, the council's executive director.

Earnest said PCEDC will continue to focus its efforts on job retention and job creation, to push cultural heritage and micro-businesses, and to broaden its efforts to encompass rural and tourism development.

Currently, a group of University of Maine students is conducting research on what Piscataquis County residents want and do not want for tourism, he said.

Toward that end, the PCEDC plans to promote the advantages of the county-its natural beauty, clean air, its safe environment, and last but by no means least, the collaborative efforts that extend throughout the county, he said.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.