In 2017, the Center began investing deeply in Millinocket, a former mill town in central Maine. The closure of its paper mill in 2008 brought population and economic decline to the town, but the last two years have put Millinocket on the upswing. Thanks to significant private investment in recreation amenities and area businesses, new ownership of the former mill site, a new national monument, and increasing leadership by a new generation of entrepreneurs and other residents, there is increasing promise for the “Magic City.”

To help Millinocket make the most of its new opportunities, the Center has:

MHI 100 Katahdin reno 3 19

  • Improved the quality of downtown housing: Launched the Millinocket Housing Initiative to increase the quality of housing to support community revitalization. The Center purchased and renovated 5 homes in the downtown core, and we're working on the 6th, our most ambitious renovation in Millinocket. Our goal is to improve local housing options, revitalize neighborhoods, and motivate other owners to invest in their properties—to benefit people living and working in the community.

  • Supported the library renovation: Facilitated a New Markets Tax Credit financing of the Millinocket Memorial Library renovation project, provding more than $550,000 in funding for the visionary reinvention of this key community resource. Read more about the project.

  • Expanded internet access: Provided seed funding and secured wider financial support to install a WiFi hotspot on Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket’s main street, to provide internet access to visitors and residents in an area not covered by all cellular carriers.

  • Invested in tourism-related businesses: Provided digital marketing training for 20 small tourism-related businesses in the Katahdin region, helping to connect them to visitors relying on cell phones and other mobile devices for information.

  • Advanced Automated Wood Heat: Created an incentive program to help home and business owners convert to high-efficiency wood pellet stoves or whole-home wood boilers so they can use locally sourced wood pellet heat instead of oil. A dozen more Katahdin area families are now comfortably heating with wood