New Regional Planning Commission being formedPosted on January 13, 2022 | News
Eastern Gazette, Sheila D. Grant
Several towns in Penobscot and Piscataquis have been invited to appoint two representatives each to serve on an advisory committee for a new Regional Planning Commission serving the two counties. Thus far, Dover-Foxcroft, Greenville, Guilford and Milo town official have expressed an interest in participating
“We are in the final stages of becoming designated by the state as an RPC serving Penobscot and Piscataquis counties,” said Anna Stockman, a Community and Business Services planner with the Bangor-based Eastern Maine Development Corporation. “This will be a platform for regional collaboration and will also formalize the service that EMDC already provides in the region.”
Those services include community planning, workforce development, broadband and regional planning, she said.
EMDC is a nonprofit organization serving the four-county region of Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Waldo counties. “We provide services to communities and businesses and also workforce development services all under one umbrella, which is pretty unique for an organization like ourselves,” said Stockman. “In Piscataquis County most recently, we were a catalyst in providing the initial funding for the Big Moose Ski Resort project in Greenville. We really helped to get that project off the ground and it will be in economic driver and job creator for Piscataquis County.”
Hancock and Waldo counties will not be part of the new RPC.
“There are other RPCs and also Councils of Government throughout Maine, so we’ll be one of many” said Stockman. “This will also give us an opportunity to collaborate with them, as well, and coordinate our planning activities.”
Similar regional planning organizations in Maine include the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, the Hancock County Planning Commission and the Northern Maine Development Commission, among others.
Last July, EMDC released its five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which was built with input from 76 regional stakeholders and explores strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats this area will face from 2021 to 2025 and puta forth recommended strategies for each.
The new RPC will “serve as the crosswalk between plans and goals and the strategies and their implementation,” she said
“It’s important to know that although we will be serving Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, the different municipalities that will be designating these two representatives to be an the advisory committee for the RPC will gather on a routine basis to discuss regional planning projects.” said Stockman. “It’s an opportunity for greater regional collaboration, so that will really help to further engage the different municipalities in the region and also provide that platform for discussing regional projects and how we can further drive economic development in this region.”
One of the two representatives (rom each town must be a municipal officer, While some towns have not yet made those appointments, at their December 15, 2021 Select Board meeting, Greenville appointed Town Manager Michael Roy and Planning Board Chair John Contreni lo serve on the RPC advisory committee for the next two years. At the January 4 Milo Select Board meeting, Town Manager Robert Canney and Select Board member Susan Libby were appointed to represent their town on the RPC advisory committee,
“We are still collecting select board and town council meeting minutes to how municipal support for the RPC, and to designate those two individuals,” Stockman said. “Once we have all of Chose collected from the municipalities, we will submit them to the state for their review, and once that is done, we can move on toward how often the committee will meet. We are really looking forward to further engagement with the region and providing that platform for partnership and collaboration.”