VAN BUREN, Maine — With phrase spreading about Van Buren’s revitalization efforts, extra statewide and nationwide organizations are stepping as much as give the Aroostook County border city a lift.
A Bangor Every day Information story final month concerning the city’s revitalization efforts generated at the least 4 cellphone calls from teams together with Maine Growth Basis, which needs to revive Van Buren’s standing within the state’s Foremost Avenue program, City Supervisor Luke Dyer stated.
The Foremost Avenue program is a part of the Foremost Avenue America program, which highlights cities and cities throughout the nation as tourism locations.
Van Buren has been dying during the last 20 years, however latest efforts to rescue the city of roughly 2,000 are exhibiting some success. Dyer stated final month that it took 20 years for the city to get right into a state of decline, and it could take some time to deliver it again. Assist from exterior teams will make it occur sooner.
Dyer stated he had been in talks with Maine Growth Basis program director Anne Ball about Van Buren turning into a Foremost Avenue group in a few years, however after listening to concerning the city’s present momentum the group now needs to make this occur sooner.
Dyer instructed the city council Wednesday that Van Buren was one of many basis’s first Foremost Avenue cities, however its involvement waned through the years. The inspiration reached out after Ball and her colleagues learn within the newspaper article concerning the city’s revitalization.
“She reached out to me and stated ‘We are able to’t wait. It’s time for Van Buren to change into a downtown Maine affiliate, now.’ And I agree,” Dyer stated.
Van Buren was just lately awarded a Residents’ Institute on Rural Design grant, which is supported by the Nationwide Endowment for the Arts. No cash is hooked up to the grant. It as a substitute offers small cities throughout the nation entry to nationwide consultants who assist them make enhancements which can be targeted on arts and tradition in addition to financial improvement.
They’re considered one of solely 17 different communities in the USA to get the grant this yr.
Dyer additionally stated he’s making use of for a Neighborhood Coronary heart & Soul grant, a Vermont-based group that encourages group members to change into immediately concerned in a city’s revitalization. Volunteers collect tales from residents that assist the city leaders establish what’s most essential to the bulk of people that stay there. They are going to then use this data to assist revitalize the city.
“We are able to have an opinion,” Dyer stated. “We might need a statue of a bronze elephant the place the dehydrated moose is, however the group might not need that every one. So the aim of Neighborhood Coronary heart & Soul is to deliver individuals collectively and discuss our historical past, discuss how we wish our previous, our tradition, our present group to influence our progress of revitalization going ahead.”
The grant would award the city $10,000 with a match of $10,000 that the city pays again over a two-year interval. Dyer stated this cash is already in Van Buren’s financial improvement fund.
Council Chairperson John Beaulieu stated he thought the group storytelling facet of this system would assist drive native participation.
Dyer plans to attend the Nationwide Rural Housing Convention in Washington, D.C., in late October with different communities within the Residents’ Institute on Rural Design program. This system will reimburse his journey bills of roughly $1,500, he stated.
City officers are reviving the city’s former nickname of “Christmas City,” given many years in the past due to all the city’s thriving financial system and numerous outlets. They just lately held a “Christmas in July” occasion, which Dyer stated went extremely effectively.
Councilor Peter Madore, who has additionally performed a big position within the city’s revitalization, stated he would don’t have any drawback protecting the identify.
“I believe we’ve gotten our identify again from the previous days,” he stated. “I’ve no situation with leaving the Christmas lights on all yr lengthy. That’s going to be our designation. You’ll be able to have no matter you need in each different city, however we have now discovered our area of interest.”