Select board gets it right supporting sailing community

Jul 30, 2020

The Camden Select Board showed strong and thoughtful leadership this week in agreeing to do what they can to support local windjammers and daysailers, who have been hit hard financially by the pandemic and the drop in tourism.

The board voted to put off collecting fees until October at the soonest, and it is working on a plan to reduce the fees in a way that helps support these businesses which are so much a part of the community’s sense of identity.

Town Manager Audra Caler said this had been anticipated in the budget-planning process and the drop in revenues was already accounted for.

In supporting the sailors in the community, town leaders accomplish at least two objectives.

First, they avoid falling into the “penny wise, pound foolish” trap. Over time, a slight drop in revenues will have a far smaller impact than the loss of any of these vessels.

In addition, they are working to set a good example for others. Landlords will be faced with tough choices in coming months as some of their tenants struggle because they have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Portland Press Herald reports: “Housing advocates and public officials fear a wave of evictions when the courts resume hearings next month – and a proposed $50 million housing assistance plan may not be enough to stop it.”

“To date, nearly 13,000 households have applied for one-time payments of $500 in rental assistance from the state because of lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some advocates say 2,000 or more evictions could be filed when the courts reopen for eviction proceedings in August.”

The financial pain is being felt widely in our community, but we anticipate that here in the Midcoast, we will follow the select board’s lead.

Board Chair Bob Falciani’s message is a good one.

“We’re going to work with you. We’ll get through it together.”

 

Take us out to the drive-in!

One bright development in the community is the construction and operation of a new drive-in movie theater on West Street in Rockport, just off Route 1.

The Shotwell Drive-In was just recently constructed by a very small team of dedicated individuals for the Points North Institute and the Camden International Film Festival.

It was interesting to learn that a drive-in screen is a sturdy construction built with utility poles for support that can withstand up to 100 mph winds (though we hope it never has to).

This has been a community effort and partnership. The organization is leasing the land from the town at no cost.

And neighbors have even gotten into it, helping the workers during the project by lending them a hose.

The plan is to host a few films per month and use the theater as a venue for the 2020 CIFF festival. Our only request is that they start showing movies every week.

For more information visit https://shotwelldrivein.eventive.org/welcome.

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