Contributing to the community for those who can't or won't provides me a great amount of fulfillness and energy. I am known as someone who is authentic, level headed and an outside the box visionary.
Comprehensive Plan Committee
South Berwick's Comprehensive Plan Committee Progresses Towards Final Draft
South Berwick’s Comprehensive Plan Committee Progresses Towards Final Draft
The Town Council seated the Comprehensive Plan Committee in April 2022, and charged the Committee with updating the Town's 2008 Comprehensive Plan for consistency with Maine's Growth Management Act (30-A, M.R.S.A. §4301 et seq.). Plans found consistent with the Growth Management Act allow the municipality to enact legitimate zoning, impact fees, and rate of growth ordinances and can qualify the municipality for preferred status with many state-competitive grant programs. Updating a Comprehensive Plan is a detailed process requiring many inputs.
The Comprehensive Plan Committee comprises of 12 members, including residents, Town Council liaisons, the Town's Economic Development Director, and representatives from the Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission (SPMDC), the Town's consultant for the plan update. The plan's 11 chapters were updated with present information using many different data sets and resources throughout 2022.
A community survey was drafted and conducted in July/August 2022 and received a result of over 1100 responses, far exceeding the standard response rates of other communities. SMPDC helped the Committee analyze the survey results in the fall of 2022 while the Committee continued to work on updating the draft chapters, which have nearly 100 pages of content.
Last winter, the Committee worked to plan and conduct four focus groups in April 2023 specific to Arts, Recreation & the Village, Conservation & Natural Resources, Land Use & Housing, and Economic Development. The goal of the focus groups was to help gather additional information for the Committee to use to help inform Committee Members of potential future policies/strategies. The public input process during the plan update has been multi-faceted. The committee is now in the final stages of creating draft recommendations.
The dedicated group is pleased to announce that the Committee will be presenting information regarding land use to the Planning Board on February 7. Additionally, a public feedback open session will be conducted in April to provide highlights of the plan. Committee meetings open to the public every 4th Monday of the month at 6pm. More information regarding the committee, including minutes and draft materials, can be found at: [https://southberwickmaine.org/.../agendas___minutes.php]
The Town of South Berwick has set in motion the development of a comprehensive Downtown Revitalization Plan and your input is essential.
Town Manager, Tim Pellerin, explains that the Downtown Revitalization Plan will be drafted to meet the requirements set by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). The plan is not just a visionary document but a practical roadmap that positions the Town of South Berwick to seek funding for the implementation of key action items. This plan opens avenues for the town to apply for state and federal grants dedicated to achieving the goals outlined in the plan.
The groundwork for this project was laid with the establishment of the Downtown Revitalization Plan Advisory Committee in October 2023. This committee comprises the Economic & Community Development Director, two Town Council members, and 11 engaged town citizens and business owners. Collaborating with the Town's lead consultant, Jeff Preble of Wright-Pierce, the committee is dedicated to crafting an actionable plan. The vision is to enhance the town's aesthetic appeal, preserve its historic character, improve pedestrian systems, support a diverse economy, and enhance economic viability throughout the year. This strategic initiative aligns with the recently completed Economic Market Analysis, the work to update the Comprehensive Plan, and the impending Sebago Technics traffic study. The anticipated draft plan of the traffic study is expected later this year.
Wright-Pierce, in collaboration with the committee, recently conducted a well-attended public workshop on January 18. The next crucial step in the process is the launch of a survey, open for input until mid-March. The survey aims to capture the diverse perspectives of the community. Paper copies are available in the Town Clerk's office and the South Berwick Public Library.
Following the compilation of feedback from the January 18 workshop and the survey, the project timeline unfolds with another significant event—a Draft Plan Public Workshop scheduled for May 2024. This workshop will provide an opportunity for the community to delve deeper into the evolving plan. The grand finale is slated for September 2024, with the presentation of the Final Plan. This culmination will mark a pivotal moment in South Berwick's journey towards a revitalized, vibrant downtown.
Downtown Revitalization Plan Committee
South Berwick’s holiday mashup: Home for the Holidays and Christmas Parade join forces
Two cherished holiday traditions, Home for the Holidays and the Rollinsford/South Berwick Christmas Parade, are joining forces for a day-long celebration on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Since 2004, SoBo Central's Home for the Holidays has been a tradition in South Berwick, bringing the community together for festive activities and family-friendly fun. The Rollinsford/South Berwick Christmas Parade has been a staple since 1984, offering a delightful spectacle of holiday-themed floats, music, and goodwill.
This year, both volunteer-run events decided to partner to create a memorable day for everyone to enjoy.
“The primary goal of this extraordinary event is to serve as a unifying force, binding the community in the spirit of the festive season,” the group stated in a press release. “With a lineup of activities, entertainment, and celebrations throughout the day, this event is designed to foster a sense of togetherness and showcase the best of South Berwick.”
The volunteer organizers said both events have been instrumental in driving business and commerce in the region. By combining forces, they said the event aims to revitalize downtown South Berwick and create a thriving environment for local vendors and shops.
"We recognize the incredible legacies of Home for the Holidays and the Rollinsford/South Berwick Christmas Parade," said Greg Ouellette, event organizer. "Our mission is to honor these traditions while building a stronger, more interconnected community. We're thrilled to bring these two beloved events together for an unforgettable day of joy and celebration."
For more information about the event, including the schedule and how to get involved, please visit their website www.sobocentral.org/homeforholidays. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on the latest news and announcements.
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