JAY — The town needs an influx of people, more businesses and a spruce-up of the southern gateway to town in Chisholm, residents said Thursday.

They’re hoping the Route 4 construction project expected to begin next year will be a start, along with the ongoing former paper mill economic development project in its early stages.

Three residents turned out for a visioning session to tell the town’s Comprehensive Planning Update Committee what they like about their town and what they see as important issues that need to be addressed.

The committee has been working since earlier this year, pulling together information and analyzing it with the help of John Maloney, a planner with Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. The goal was to determine where the town is now and where people would like it to be in 10 years.

The goal is to draft a plan that would help guide the town into the future.

The town’s current plan was updated in 1996 and needs to be redone, Maloney said.


Among the items people liked about the town was lack of zoning, principal of no regulation of business, affordable housing, Spruce Mountain, quality of life, small town atmosphere, two fire stations, library, low crime rate and woods to walk in. More items added included a good school system and easy commute to a lot of places.

Other important issues included making the town more attractive, such as sweeping streets more frequently, maybe getting some hanging flowers like Livermore Falls, some new lights, high-speed Internet, getting public transportation and preserving history. Also, getting a hotel and conference center, more eateries, increasing services for elderly and extending the natural-gas pipeline in town were mentioned.

“What we really need is an influx of people,” Dan Smiley said. “I think Jay has a lot to offer if you are starting a family or are retired.”

The town also has to have places to attract people, Tim DeMillo said.

The committee wants more comments to include in the updated plan that is expected to go before voters next June.

A draft plan is expected to be available early next year.

The committee meets the third Thursday of every month with the next meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at the town office. The public is invited to attend.

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