LIVERMORE – GrowSmart Maine (GSM) knows that communities with caring residents who are active in government and area organizations will be stronger in the future and is working to further promote those efforts. A public forum has been set for May 20th, with time and place still to be determined, to share ideas about small, inexpensive projects that can raise awareness and support for the community center and the trails system maintained by Androscoggin Land Trust.

A pilot project, sponsored by GSM and the Maine Downtown Center (MDC) called Making Headway in Your Community, began last fall. Project planners reached out to representatives from Wilton, Jay, Canton, Livermore Falls, and Livermore because of connections they already shared and activities already occurring there.  A regional school system, the Androscoggin River, and downtown improvement efforts were some of them.  

A Movie Night was held to show the 30-minute film, “Reviving Freedom Mill” which tells the story of Tony Grassi’s rehabilitation of an abandoned grist mill into a bustling community center with a restaurant and school that connect with rural neighbors. Other partners in this project include Greater Franklin Development Corporation, Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, and Androscoggin Land Trust.

Some changes have come about since last fall’s efforts. While some residents are involved with Androscoggin Land Trust’s conservation and trail work, Canton has not been able to participate in this new project. The timing is not right for Wilton at this time as it focuses on cleaning up old mills and revitalizing the downtown.

At the forum on May 20, ideas will first be shared about tasks that can be done to improve the function and or visibility of the Livermore Community Center and the trails system maintained by Androscoggin Land Trust. Painting the outside of the center, installing insulation, and making it handicap accessible are possibilities.

Those in attendance will then select one project for each entity that has an organization willing to take the lead and volunteers to help, can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, and has the support of town staff time and or financial assistance from individuals or businesses.

GSM will provide up to $1,000 for each of the two projects to help strengthen connections within and between the communities. GSM sees the projects as a way to bring vested partners closer and provide new enthusiasm and vitality to exhisting initiatives. In addition to GSM and MDC support, the Elmina B SEwall Foundation and the Maine Community Foundation are also helping to fund this effort. 

Once the projects are completed, a follow up meeting will be held to share how the projects turned out and plan what the next steps should be. 

Public input and support are essential for the success of this effort. Mark your calendar for May 20 and plan to share your ideas and vision on how to ensure your community will offer a vibrant economy opportunities, recreational endeavors and pleasing living areas for future generations to enjoy.

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