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March 7, 2016

Development heats up in Milbridge

Representatives of a handful of businesses and organizations that have opened or relocated here say Milbridge is a good place to be, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Those entities include the Washington County Council of Governments, Downeast & Acadia Regional tourism, Downeast Resource Conservation and Development Council, the gift shop Riverlily, a new event center and Big Cat's Bar and Grille.

WCCOG Executive Director Judy East told the BDN the organization moved to Milbridge from Cherryfield primarily for better Internet speed. She said Milbridge is a good place for businesses also because of the services on Main Street, which include restaurants, banks, a grocery store, the Milbridge Historical Society museum and gift shops.

Riverlily owner PJ Trowell noted Milbridge's location on Route 1 is great for catching tourists on their way north to reach destinations such as Lubec and Eastport.

Milbridge residents have been working toward just this sort of revitalization. An organization called GATEWAY:Milbridge, named in recognition of the town's location as a full-service gateway to downeast Maine and the Bold Coast region is a downtown revitalization initiative that integrates the physical, cultural, economic, social and natural opportunities of the small coastal town, working in partnership with local organizations, businesses and residents to cultivate community, leverage resources, and inspire economic health.

On its website, the group said goals also include making Milbridge a destination in itself. Downtown redevelopment ideas in discussion have included walking trails, a playground, outdoor events, historic preservation of Milbridge Theatre artifacts, an arts center, community gathering places, distribution of area information and more.

Big Cats owners Alex and Betsey Grant quickly saw success with their restaurant, which opened its doors Jan. 27 and did so well the first week that they ran out of half the menu items by Jan. 30. "It's exceeded my expectations for this time of year, that's for sure," Grant told the BDN.

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