Population Loss
Population Loss

“How do we build a new vision for the future?”

Client: The Town of Millinocket

Team Members: Charles Buki, Karen Beck Pooley, Don Poland

Services: Visioning, Strategy Development, Policy Recommendations

In 2014 and 2015, czb worked with the Town of Millinocket in north-central Maine on a strategy to guide the town and future development after the closure of the Great Northern Paper mill, which once drove the area’s economy.
czb team members met with local officials, conducted focus groups, analyzed economic trends and data, and circulated an online survey designed to gauge how Millinocket residents felt about the future.

czb’s final analysis was summarized in an open letter to the residents of Millinocket. The letter included actionable recommendations residents could use to make beautification investments, shrink the town's footprint, embrace different kinds of land ownership, and pursue partnerships with outside institutions. czb's letter to Millinocket received media coverage in Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, Down East magazine, and other publications across the state.  Millinocket has seen tremendous growth in engagement, volunteer activity, and investment in its downtown.

Said the Bangor Daily News: “While several volunteer efforts were underway before [the letter], the letter served to boost support and motivate others into action. The volunteer activities include [a proposed farmers market], a volunteer basketball tournament that helped fund the Katahdin region’s two high school sports programs, the creation of 5 miles of cross-country skiing trails, a proposed community garden, the creation of downtown banners and the pending revitalizations of Millinocket Stream and Hillcrest Park.”

Project Outcomes

Higher levels of engagement, higher levels of volunteer activity, increased investment in downtown, and the initiation of new community events, including a Millinocket Marathon & Half Marathon that has attracted more than 900 visitors to Millinocket and has generated support from more than 40 Katahdin Region businesses.

An increase in donations to volunteer-led community activities and events in Millinocket.

“‘The czb analysis just underscored the need for more volunteer efforts in the area and helped motivate a flood of contributions to the activities highlighted on his website which actually launched last December," said one native Millinocket resident, whose site had raised about $13,500 for various community projects in Millinocket.  "The czb study certainly accelerated the pace of the fundraising — it’s crazy how fast."

Read the full story here.