Creating Vibrancy in Belfast, Maine

CLIENT:

City of Belface, Maine

The local economy of Belfast Maine has faced many challenges. The shipbuilding, poultry, and seafood processing industries have come and gone, leaving Belfast with an industrial waterfront. The Route1 bypass allows tourists to essentially ignore Belfast on their routes along the coast. Many downtown merchants don’t have enough foot traffic to earn a full time living. The population is declining and aging. This coastal Maine community wanted to increase vibrancy in the city but didn’t want tourism to dilute its cultural core. The goal of this study was to increase sales activity in the local economy without being overrun by tourists. The study used an Asset Based Community Development approach to identify Belfast’s greatest assets that can be used to market the city. Crane Associates analyzed regional and national economic trends and matched those trends with Belfast’s unique assets. The result was an action plan that showed how the city can tap into those trends while still remaining true to its traditions. The study provided detailed recommendations in six major categories including marketing, events, business retention and improvement, infrastructure, institutional changes, and aligning with national trends. The City is now implementing this plan.

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