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November 16, 2023

With $485K in funding, nonprofit will market Skowhegan-Waterville area as tourism destination

File photo / Fred Field Kristina Cannon, president and CEO of Main Street Skowhegan

Main Street Skowhegan, a nonprofit working to revitalize the Somerset County town, has been awarded $484,500 from the Maine Office of Tourism to create a master plan for marketing the region.

The nonprofit will develop and pursue the plan in partnership with the Central Maine Growth Council and Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, according to a news release. The regional initiative is expected to bolster tourism, competitively attract new businesses and talent, and drive long-term economic prosperity for the Skowhegan/Waterville region.

Partners will use grant funding to hire and work with a firm to develop a shared vision, marketing plan and brand strategy. 

“Our region embodies the authentic Maine brand — with a thriving local food scene, world-class arts facilities, and a growing outdoor recreation movement,” said Kristina Cannon, president and CEO of Main Street Skowhegan. “Working together will ensure strategic development, continued momentum, and brand cohesion, positioning the Skowhegan/Waterville region to become a strong contender for tourist, business, and resident attraction.”

With ongoing investment in Skowhegan at an all-time high of more than $650 million, a shared vision for regional development is the next step toward continued growth, Cannon said.

A brand strategy with cohesive positioning, messaging and graphic identity will tell the region's story while highlighting individual community characteristics.

Photo / Tim Greenway
Garvan Donegan, Central Maine Growth Council

"We firmly believe that successful placemaking strategies, in conjunction with our robust tourism and outdoor recreation resources and potential, serve as foundational pillars of our region's prosperity," said Garvan Donegan, CMGC director of planning, innovation, and economic development.

"Through a unified regional branding strategy, our goal is to unlock the region's full potential, encompassing both the hubs of Waterville and Skowhegan, as well as the communities between and along the Kennebec River. This strategy aims to elevate the charm, appeal, and marketing prowess, benefiting not only our residents but also those seeking to explore the natural splendor of Maine."

Kimberly Lindlof, president and CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, added, "This grant provides a vital piece to the Mid-Maine Chamber’s ongoing efforts to showcase the area and grow our regional economy, with the primary goal of attracting tourists, the midterm goal of developing entrepreneurs, and the long-term goal of attracting those who visit and fall in love with our region and relocate here, bringing their families and their dreams."

In addition to the key partners representing more than 20 communities in the region, several other stakeholders have committed to the initiative, including other economic development organizations, municipalities, educational institutions and businesses. 

The Skowhegan/Waterville initiative is one of five grants awarded by the Maine Office of Tourism through its Tourism Marketing & Development Recovery Program, with all projects totaling more than $1.7 million.

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