NORWAY – Anne Campbell, Norway’s downtown program manager, is looking forward to using the new Strategy to Enhance Main Street to improve the downtown area.

Norway has received a $10,000 grant to update the 1995 document “A Strategy to Enhance Main Street,” which makes recommendations for improving aspects of life and business in downtown Norway. The grant will be used to hire a firm to create a new strategy, as well as training volunteers, conducting surveys and analyzing data.

At a meeting called by Debbie Wyman last week, members of the Community Development Block Grant program discussed how the information gained from the new Main Street strategy can best be put to use. Present were Campbell; Ken Morse, president of Norway Revitalization; Lori Allen; and Darcy Rollins, director of the Maine Downtown Center in Augusta.

Last year, the Maine Downtown Center designated Norway as a Main Street Maine community. As a Main Street community, Norway receives training and technical assistance from the Maine Downtown Center. The town has hired a downtown manager, Campbell, and formed a group of volunteers, the Downtown Revitalization Group, who are working to improve Norway’s downtown area.

“We’re in a unique position,” said Campbell of receiving this grant at a time when Norway is working closely with the Maine Downtown Center. The town will be able to “analyze and use (information gained through the grant) in a way that’s really helpful.” She has been working with the city of Bath, a Main Street community since 2001. As part of the program, Bath has agreed to help other towns with revitalization efforts. In return, Norway will share what it has learned with future Main Street communities.

Of particular interest to Campbell is the Downtown Market Analysis included in the Strategy to Enhance Main Street. Creating the new analysis will involve surveying customers, interviewing business people, and looking at the existing businesses on Main Street. Campbell wants to know what hours Main Street businesses are open, what products they sell, how many people they employ, and what towns their customers come from. With this information in hand, Downtown Revitalization will be able to strengthen existing businesses and attract new ones.

Volunteers are needed to help with this process. Anyone interested should contact Campbell at the Norway Downtown Revitalization office, 739-2215.

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