WILTON — The first in a series of economic forums will take place Monday, April 14, Town Manager Rhonda Irish recently told the Board of Selectmen.

The town, working with Alison Hagerstrom, executive director of Greater Franklin Development Corporation, will host Economic Forum — Wilton’s Future…Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Energy and Technology, she said.

The forum is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. at Calzolaio Pasta Co. Some invitations have been sent but anyone is welcome to attend. They are asked to RSVP by April 10 to Hagerstrom at [email protected] or 778-5887.

Over the past couple of years, the town has worked on ideas for the downtown area but these forums reach out to all areas of town, she said.

Business owners who have space available along Route 2 from East Dixfield to Farmington and within the town area to promote these particular industries were invited, she said Friday.

Different sessions will be held to work on the town’s goal of promoting Wilton in advanced manufacturing, agriculture, energy and technology, Irish said. “Advanced” recognizes that it’s not the traditional technology or manufacturing business but looking into the future and what types of technology or manufacturing potentially could settle in the area, she said.

Speakers for the April 14 forum include Darryl Sterling, Foster Regional Applied Technology Center Director Glen Kapiloff, Aaron Paul and Josh Broder from the Three-Ring Binder Project. Also speaking are Hagerstrom and Irish, who will discuss Wilton’s assets, including Tax Increment Financing in some areas which can also provide credit enhancements, she said.

Sterling, of Richmond, former director of economic and community development for that town, is now the executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council.

Richmond is similar to Wilton, Irish said.

Kapiloff will talk about the programs at Foster, ones preparing a pipeline of employees for the future in areas of composites, biotechnology and technology, she said.

The Three-Ring Binder Project is an effort to bring fiber optic Internet connections throughout Maine, Selectman Tiffany Maiuri explained.

In 2009, fiber optic cable, which allows high-speed connections, was only available along Route 95 to Bangor. GWI and Maine Fiber Company petitioned for federal stimulus funds to build a fiber optic network along a core of the state.

The line runs through Main Street in Wilton, she said.

It’s comparable to having dirt roads and asking for paved highways, she said. While copper wire used in regular telephone Internet connections can operate at speeds as high 3 megabits per second and cable, 8 megabits per second, fiber -optics can transfer data at hundreds of megabits per second.

“You could download a movie using fiber optics in seconds whereas it would take hours to download it with a standard connection,” she said.

Fiber optics would provide a better opportunity for companies who need fast connections to relocate to Wilton.

Representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud were invited and will tour downtown businesses prior to the forum, Irish said.

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