To the Citizens of Ellsworth;
Since joining the City of Ellsworth this past August, I’ve come to more fully appreciate everything that makes Ellsworth a truly special place to live, work and do business. There are tremendous opportunities within our reach, which can be best realized by working together – businesses, government, non-profits and citizens through a culture of community partnership. This theme came through loud and clear in the City Council’s 2015 visioning process which incorporated the views of over 300 people representing a diverse range of interests. This collective vision was captured in the city’s new Vision Statement, which sees Ellsworth as an “economically, socially and culturally vital, year-round community”, providing an “exceptional place for business, leisure and life.”
Such a vision builds on the community’s distinguishing assets, including its Downtown and Riverfront, close-knit neighborhoods, commercial districts, and abundant recreational amenities. It also looks to the future, and building a diversified economy that takes advantage of this existing platform to leverage new opportunities in a changing world.
Indeed, the community will probably look back to 2016 as a transformational year for Ellsworth with the long awaited conversion of the former Lowes building by Jackson Laboratory. JAX is investing approximately $120 million to convert the Lowes building into a state-of-the-art mouse production facility which will provide research mice to labs all over the world, and employ 230 people at full build-out.
In partnership with the Ellsworth Business Development Corporation, the City is already building on its new association with this world-class bio-science organization with the roll-out of the Union River Center for Innovation, which will open its doors in early summer. This 5,000 square foot “Incubator” facility located on Water Street will seek to nurture the start-up and growth of small business ventures in bio-science, information technology and other areas of innovation. The City’s new broadband fiber line will support such innovation at the Incubator facility as well as through-out its three-mile route.
We recognize as well that economic development and our quality of place are also dependent on building housing stock that meets the diverse needs of a changing population. With shifting demographics , efforts are underway to better understand the marketplace in Ellsworth, including the 55 and older market, millennials, and workforce needs, among others. Offering the right mix of housing opportunities is key to our future progress and will continue to be a priority focus.
The City is working with the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Ellsworth Association to focus on bringing new services, restaurants, cultural and recreational opportunities to Ellsworth’s Downtown, waterfront, and commercial districts. With change comes opportunity…. Ellsworth is poised and prepared for both. We are fortunate to have a strong, forward thinking City Council, experienced and dedicated staff, and interested and engaged citizens. We invite you to join us at the monthly City Council Meetings or visit our Facebook Page and Website for important information on City business, meeting dates, agendas, events, important tidbits and much more.