Biddeford, MAINE – Joined by local leaders, Governor Mills today visited Biddeford where she applauded the town and its people for their ongoing economic revitalization work. As part of her visit, Governor Mills toured the former Lincoln Mill, the site of a mixed-use redevelopment that will include new rental lofts, a hotel, restaurant, fitness center, as well as ‘a conference and events center and a rooftop pool and bar. The redevelopment of the former textile mill is part of Biddeford’s ongoing economic revitalization efforts to expand business and housing opportunities in the town.
The governor was joined by House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, State Senator Susan Deschambault, Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant and project developers Tim Harrington and Eric Chinburg.
“Biddeford is a role model on how communities in Maine can adapt, grow and strengthen our economy,” Governor Mills said. “I am incredibly impressed with the progress the city has made in revitalizing our old mills and turning them into new hubs of opportunity for housing, small business and tourism. “
“Governor Mills has joined me in making affordable housing construction a priority because we understand how challenging it is for communities in Maine right now. Biddeford, like most places, faces rising housing costs. Maine needs to build more units per year as a state to keep pace with demand and reduce costs, ” said Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau. “The Lincoln Mill project is a big step forward for the Biddeford building stock, adding 147 apartments in our city. In collaboration with state and federal partners, our community has redeveloped and breathed new energy into the vacant factories. We must share this growth today.
“Anyone who lives in Biddeford knows how resilient this city is. Over the years we have grown from a small mill town to a cultural hub and hub for unique retail stores, ” said Senator Deschambault. “I know Biddeford will continue to grow and innovate in the future, and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to celebrate that spirit.
“Biddeford has always been a city of character and hard-working people”, said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant. “The city has aggressively and creatively partnered with the private sector to spur a renaissance of community pride and an invigorated, locally-centered economy. Incredibly, the best is yet to come!
Following her tour of the Lincoln Mill complex, Governor Mills took part in a walking tour of local small businesses on Main Street, including Sugar, Nibblesford Cheese Shop, Lorne Wine, Luscious Curves Boutique, and Time & Tide Coffee.
“There is nothing better than going out to see firsthand the excellent work of our small businesses”, Governor Mills said. “Throughout the pandemic, they have adapted with ingenuity and determination to keep their customers safe and move our economy forward. I am grateful for their work and my administration will continue to do everything possible to support them as we recover from the pandemic. “
Governor Mills also visited the Biddeford Regional Technology Center, one of 27 technical and vocational education centers in Maine. Governor Mills is a strong supporter of the Maine CTEs and is investing $ 20 million for the CTE program, equipment and facility upgrades as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, his plan approved by the legislature to invest more $ 1 billion in discretionary federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act.
As attorney general, Governor Mills used the funds she obtained through a settlement with Bain Magique to create plumbing programs at several CTEs in Maine, including the Biddeford Regional Technology Center.
“Trades jobs bring good skills and good pay, as well as stable careers throughout life, which is why investments in CTEs like the Biddeford Regional Technology Center are critical to our economic recovery. and our long-term growth ”, Governor Mills said. “Through the Maine Jobs and Stimulus Plan, we will use US bailout funds to support our CTEs and help them train students so they can be on track for rewarding careers in the small businesses in Maine just waiting to hire them. ”
“We are very honored to welcome Governor Mills and Commissioner Makin to our building and programs as part of the focus on workforce development and retention in Maine, and we are grateful for the continued financial support Governor Mills has provided to all of our 27 CTEs. schools in our state ”, said the director of the Biddeford Regional Technology Center, Paulette Bonneau. “Vocational and technical education, formerly called ‘vocational education,’ is not what we know it was. CTE is STEM. CTE not only prepares students for the technical skills of the future, but is also an integral part of our training focused on the development of functional employability skills often referred to as “soft skills”. Although Governor Mills visited a 52-year-old building today, what she saw inside were 21st century skills-building programs. Every program we offer supports economic development and a viable career for our youth. Automation and technology have changed dramatically and will continue to have an impact on how we teach and what we teach. We will need to be nimble and work closely with our industry and business partners to provide our youth with career paths that will not only support their livelihoods, but our great state of Maine as well. “
“The programs offered by the Biddeford Regional Technology Center provide 21st century learning experiences that will secure a thriving future for Maine students and our economy. ” said Education Commissioner Pender Makin. “Investments in our centers and our CTE staff are investments in our future. Students in these programs use technology, problem-solving and innovation that will transfer into any future career, and they receive specialized training towards immediate, high-quality employment opportunities.
Under Governor Mills, the state has strengthened its relationships with municipalities like Biddeford, restoring municipal revenue sharing to five percent and finally reaching 55 percent of the cost of K-12 public education. .