FARMINGTON — The state recognized Farmington Friday as Franklin County’s first community to be certified as a Business Friendly Community.

The status was achieved earlier this year but road signs and a certificate was presented Friday to town officials by Diane Jackson from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

“Maine’s goal is simple, we want our local communities to partner with business and we want to identify those communities who exhibit a “can do” attitude,” Jackson said on behalf of Governor Paul LePage and Commissioner Gervais.

The town joins 30 other Maine communities designated by the governor and DECD through the Certified Business-Friendly Community Program since 2012.

Although the Maine Department of Transportation will erect the two, reflective signs, Town Manager Richard Davis suggested one be placed near Bjorn Park on Route 2 or Farmington Falls Road and the other on Routes 2 and 4, also known as the Wilton Road.

As a Business-Friendly Community, the towns receive recognition on the state DECD website, become part of Maine’s Business Attraction strategy and receive two Business-Friendly Community signs, according to the DECD website.

“This official certification encourages cities and towns to take a critical look at their permitting and licensing process, as well as how they partner with the private sector, economic, educational and workforce development strategies ….TOGETHER these are the tools to help foster and facilitate a strong welcoming environment for business growth and attraction,” she said.

Some business-friendly characteristics that helped the town earn the title include the establishment of a Revolving Loan Fund, use of local, state and federal programs to support infrastructure, business and downtown development, collaboration with local educational partners – the Mt. Blue Learning Campus and the University of Maine at Farmington – and expedited  licensing and permitting processes, according to a release from the governor’s office in February when the acceptance was announced.

“Gov. LePage is focused on creating an attitude in state government that works with the job creators and we are dedicated to working with communities like Farmington that understand the importance of Maine being ‘Open For Business!'” Jackson said.

Franklin County is a prime area for expected business developments, she said after the presentation.  Everything is here … from the mountains and other recreational opportunities to a workforce with a high work ethic who take pride in their work, she said.

For a company like Barclaycard to put $5 million in to a building they don’t own shows their investment in this area, she said of the recent expansion and renovation of the Wilton business.  

DECD will soon be taking more applications for certification as a Business-Friendly community, she said.

Farmington applied for the designation in 2013 was turned down.  A second application provided concrete examples of how the town works with businesses, Davis said at the time of acceptance in to the program.

The town joined the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and Farmington Downtown Association prior to reapplying for the designation.

Davis credited the efforts of Cindy Gelinas, planning assistant, for her work on the application.

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