A preliminary report created for Camden by Development Concepts, designed to address issues of economic growth under a grant from Gateway 1, was presented to about 30 residents at a meeting Jan. 10.

According to the report’s findings, Camden has the oldest median age, as well as the smallest household size, in the Midcoast. The town also has “drastically higher housing costs” than the remaining 19 towns in the Gateway 1 process.

Employment in Camden is dominated by the education and health care professions, with approximately 700 jobs filled each year, followed by grocery stores and other food-related businesses, with slightly less than 600 jobs.

“Of note is the concentration of businesses related to the tourist trade. Camden has 62 retailers and 46 hotels and restaurants,” the report stated. Leisure and hospitality jobs average about 400 in any given year.

“Left to its own devices, it is clear that the Camden economy will grow only at a modest pace,” the report stated.

The report includes an inventory of “development ready sites” and recommends five guiding principles for the town’s economic development efforts, as follows.

  • Utilize existing land, space and infrastructure
  • Think regionally, act locally
  • Catalyze the emergence and growth of technology and innovation businesses
  • Leverage Camden’s quality of life to attract and retain the workforce for new and existing industries
  • Enhance the town’s economic base

Six development projects received recommendation from Development Concepts.

  • Knox Mill Center
  • Inventory of development ready sites
  • Technology incubator
  • Parking management
  • Streetscape improvements
  • Public transit

The report suggests that Camden should adhere to the Gateway 1 Action Plan as it implements the above recommendations, and offers a list of potential funding sources.

The full report can be found at the Camden town website at camdenmaine.gov.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.

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