We Need Your Voice!

Grow L&A believes that the economic futures of Auburn and Lewiston are tied together. With three major development projects in the works, our bright economic forecast is drawing attention from across the state and the nation.

However, we are VERY concerned that a rising, divisive voice is endangering this forecast. Under the cry of budget shortfalls, the Auburn City Council is moving to unfund two key economic efforts:

  • the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council and
  • a passenger rail feasibility study.

The efforts by the City of Auburn to withdraw support for the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council is troubling – sending a clear message to current trade and business negotiations that states “the people of Auburn are not ready to welcome their future”. 

The sudden scheduling of Auburn Council’s vote to RECIND approved, matched funding for exploring passenger rail reinforces Auburn’s tentativeness regarding its future, but also informs businesses, investors and its residents that Auburn cannot be trusted to honor its commitments and keep its word.

NOW is the time for Auburn and Lewiston to support joint efforts that make good economic sense for businesses and people of our communities. Grow L+A believes in the promise of our futures, and we want our elected officials to work together, in the spirit of cooperation, delivering a clear, united message to business and industry, that we are ready to embrace the future.

Please, attend the Auburn City Council meeting Monday evening to show your support for LAEGC and passenger rail service.

Auburn City Building
60 Court St. (free parking in garage)
5:30PM

Bates Mill No. 5 Moves Ahead!

Cardio + rehab Cardio interior birds eye Upper Level Atrium

Platz Associates has released artist renderings for the Central Maine Medical Center and YMCA facilities in Bates Mill No. 5.

Major partners, Central Maine Healthcare and YMCA, will occupy 150,000 square feet of the 350,000 square foot building. The plans are for a centralized health and wellness center that weaves together the missions of both organizations and greatly benefits the community.

  • a 1/6 mile indoor walking track
  • an 8 lane, 25 yard long swimming pool
  • cardio and rehab center
  • expanded daycare
  • medical offices
  • additional space for Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing
  • a French bakery and banquet space
  • a grocery/market place

 

A third potential tenant is E.Claire and Pastries, a bakery/café and event venue, who will take 10,000 square feet in the mill.

Lewiston City Council gave developer Tom Platz a one year extension (to Feb 2017) on his option to buy Bates Mill No. 5. This allows all parties to complete the financial arrangements and continue to secure additional tenants.

“We’re not only fighting just the logistics of building financing,” Platz said. “Everybody knows that we’re trying to rebuild Auburn and Lewiston and get people to recognize us as a place to come do business. So that’s part of this whole scenario.”

Such a massive redevelopment project takes time, but it is moving ahead quickly now.

Latest news article.

Public Forum Results, part 2

Grow L+A held a public forum in September. The purpose was to discuss the findings of the Karp Resources Report, as well as solicit input from the community.

More than 100 people attended and an engaging evening ensued.

Here we have part 1 of a summary of the ideas and suggestions we heard from residents of Lewiston and Auburn about redeveloping Bates Mill No. 5.

Two framing questions were utilized, the first one focused on what people read in the Karp Report.  Here are highlights from the forum.

Framing Question #2

Given tonight’s discussion and your own reading of the report, what are the best ideas and strategies that help Grow L+A, and the community, move forward?

Key themes-

In relation to best uses of Bates Mill No. 5

Local food and health-related businesses

  • Medical tourism and health services (alternative medicine, being just one)
  • Education-includes wellness and food prep; teaching kitchen
  • Light manufacturing
    • Fits with idea of sustainability and history of building
  • Maker space
  • Indoor recreation
  • Business incubator
  • Urban business park
  • Grocery story with a shared kitchen (similar to St. Mary’s integrated kitchen concept)
  • Rosemont-style market (Portland and Yarmouth)
  • Open/accessible community space

We welcome any other suggestions that you might have. Email them to us at info@growla.org.

 

Public Forum Results, part 1

Grow L+A held a public forum in September. The purpose was to discuss the findings of the Karp Resources Report, as well as solicit input from the community.

More than 100 people attended and an engaging evening ensued.

Here we have part 1 of a summary of the ideas and suggestions we heard from residents of Lewiston and Auburn about redeveloping Bates Mill No. 5.

Two framing questions were utilized, the first one focused on what people read in the Karp Report.  Here are highlights from the forum.

Framing Question #1

Given what you heard this evening, and your own reading of the report, what are the most important points that Grow L+A and the community can come away with?

Key themes-

In relation to food and farming

  • Supply and demand affect local food availability
  • Food clearly needs to have a role in redeveloping Bates Mill No. 5
  • Recognition of obstacles for farmers, hindering supplying more food
  • How many farmers are there in a 25-mile radius of L-A
  • Why do farmers do business the way they do (small vs. big)

In relation to Bates Mill No. 5/the physical building itself

    • The space is big
    • Multi-use development is a must
    • Location is an asset/centrality
    • What is the best use of building
    • Incorporate into walkable plan for downtowns
    • Leverage natural light of building

We welcome any other suggestions that you might have. Email them to us at info@growla.org.

Kitchen Table Discussions

During a 2 week period at the end of the summer, Grow L+A conducted a series of kitchen table discussions about the Karp Report with a cross section of the community. Here is a summary of the results of those discussions.

Stakeholder Charrette Summary-

Question #1: Given the outcome of the Karp Report, what are the lessons learned?

  • Karp identified the issue as “supply.”
  • Food hub is not the total vision for the mill, just part of it.
  • Large institutions occupy a key role in the food chain (universities, hospitals, nursing homes, school systems) in driving demand, which might increase supply.
  • Price of local food is an issue in increasing both supply/demand.
  • How do we “ratchet up” another level of small producers that can address supply?
  • Year-round availability of local food.

Question #2: How do we better position Bates Mill #5 as an asset in cultivating a vibrant urban landscape, making living in Lewiston and Auburn more sustainable?

  • Grocery store with health/wellness component; the two go “hand-in-hand.”
  • Counter negative image of L-A; especially Lewiston and terms like “The Dirty Lew.”
  • Public Image of Bates Mill No. 5
  • Self-image of L-A
  • IMAGINE/ENVISION
    • Think/See

Note: Key role for Grow L+A in promoting a “vision” about Bates Mill No. 5

Question #3 Positioning Bates Mill No. 5—as an asset a vibrant urban landscape/sustainability

Needs that creative redevelopment of Bates Mill No. 5 could meet.

  • Childcare
  • Wellness Center
  • Marketplace
  • Learning space/training space
  • Shared kitchen
  • “Aggregator” of food services
  • Larger/Diverse Farmer’s market (indoors)
  • Business incubator