The town of Bridgton recently received a Community Heart & Soul seed grant to ensure residents and stakeholders alike have an opportunity to voice their opinions, which will help shape the town’s future.

Community Heart & Soul is an engagement process that strives to involve the town’s entire population to identify what they value most about their town and their aspirations for its future, according to a news release from The Opportunity Alliance, based in South Portland.

Bridgton Community Heart & Soul will span two years, during which a resident-driven committee will lead the charge in implementing a variety of community outreach efforts to gather stories from year-round and seasonal residents, business owners, and other stakeholders that will inform Bridgton’s Comprehensive Plan Task Force as it completes the 2024 Comprehensive Plan update.

In addition to informing the comprehensive plan, residents hope this process will foster collaboration and communication among organizations in the town.

The seed grant offers the group the ability to work with a Community Heart & Soul consultant, who will help guide the engagement process, as well as provide funds that will support community outreach.

Susie Guthro, Bridgton community resilience builder with The Opportunity Alliance, will act as project manager for the process. She is enthusiastic about the possibilities, stating, “We are so thrilled to have received this grant and are honored to be the first town in Maine funded in this way. The grant allows us to get this process up and running quickly; it is truly imperative that we collect as many Bridgton voices as possible in advance of the Comprehensive Plan update.”

Guthro added that “Those who have a stake in this community, especially those who live, work, and do business here, should have a seat at the table when discussing the town’s future vision. While committees and government should continue to provide input, we’re excited to give the entire community a chance to weigh in on this vital effort.”

For more information or to inquire about being involved in the effort, contact Guthro at [email protected] or 207-819-5773.


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