Misty Parker is now assistant director of economic development in Lewiston. Parker has been a central figure in the city’s drive to obtain and plan for the massive Choice Neighborhoods redevelopment initiative. City of Lewiston photo

LEWISTON — The city announced Wednesday that it has promoted one of the central figures from its ongoing Choice Neighborhoods downtown redevelopment effort.

Misty Parker, a city employee since 2014, is now assistant director of economic and community development, a move that will give her a more central role in the city’s efforts to revitalize and grow its economy.

A news release Tuesday called Parker “a champion of Lewiston economic development and downtown revitalization,” and said the new position will “focus on attracting and retaining local businesses” and undertake “new initiatives to enable Lewiston’s continued growth.”

That includes leading a city task force on economic development, an effort among city staff that will work in tandem with Mayor Carl Sheline’s new economic development committee, which was announced during the inauguration early this month.

Parker said Tuesday that there has “never been a more transformative time to harness Lewiston’s values of resilience and reinvention to bring the city to new heights.”

“I am ecstatic to carry these values forward in this new position and explore innovative and creative ways to reimagine opportunity and grow our city,” she said. “I look forward to listening, engaging with, and building strong relationships within our business and development community to galvanize Lewiston’s economy and move us forward.”

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As economic development manager, Parker has overseen traditional work the job is known for, like supporting new or existing businesses to set up shop or expand, but has also found success in her involvement with the Choice Neighborhoods effort. Parker oversaw the complicated process that turned comprehensive community planning into a $30 million federal redevelopment grant. The planning effort won a GrowSmart Maine award late last year.

Now, the first major redevelopment project tied to Choice Neighborhoods is closer to reality after securing financing.

Parker said Tuesday she will still lead the city’s role in the effort, which also includes several development partners, but that Lewiston also recently hired a neighborhood development planner, Jacqueline Crucet, to drive a lot of the work.

The city’s news release said Parker also “assisted Valley Beverage in their distribution facility’s third expansion, increasing their workforce, and securing their presence and growth here in Lewiston; and helped create Strengthen LA and the Lewiston Construction Initiative, workforce initiatives that connect residents to careers with economic mobility, which are critical to Lewiston’s economic future.”

“Misty has excelled in her ability to effectively work with Lewiston’s businesses and in launching new initiatives to strengthen citywide economic opportunities,” City Administrator Heather Hunter said. “Her insight, professionalism, and innovative vision will be continued assets in her new role.”

Sheline said Tuesday that he has been “continually impressed with Misty and her service to Lewiston.”

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“Owning a business is never easy and Misty’s can-do mentality and energy has been extremely helpful over the years,” he said.

Sheline announced the formation of a 16-member economic development committee during his first moments in office.

He told the Sun Journal that it will likely include discussions on how to encourage businesses or entrepreneurs to choose Lewiston and attract new private investment in the city. For city government, it could mean streamlining the permit process, or examining the code and zoning ordinances, he said.

Parker said the city administrator’s task force on economic development will be a “targeted effort” among staff to spearhead significant economic development activity. Her role will be bringing all departments together, along with other resources, to make sure new projects are “expedited,” she said.

Prior to coming to Lewiston, Parker worked on economic development and town planning in midcoast Maine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Maine Machias and a master’s degree in resource management and conservation from Antioch University New England.


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