The Northern Forest Center has launched a new initiative to increase the quality of housing in Millinocket, Maine. Our goal is to support the community as it adapts to its new role as a gateway to the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, and as it seeks to redevelop the former Great Northern Paper mill site to create jobs in the forest economy.
Millinocket's economy declined steadily after Great Northern paper mill closed in 2008, eliminating the source of jobs that had created the town and which drove the local economy. Over the years, the town's population declined and home values plummeted, leaving blighted neighborhoods and discouraging investment in residential improvements.
Recent initiatives, including the designation of the national monument, are stimulating Millinocket's economy, yet employers and others in the community have told us there is a real need to improve the quality and condition of in-town homes available for people who want to be part of the town's renaissance.
We believe good quality housing is crucial to attract professionals to new job opportunities, to provide seasonal rentals for workers in the recreational industry as it grows, and to complement revitalization activities downtown and at the former mill site. Our program will also ensure that at least some of Millinocket's vacant housing will be quickly renovated and available, rather than caught up in any rise in real estate speculation.
The Millinocket Housing Initiative builds on the Center's other projects in Millinocket, which include:
- Regional facilitation and coordination of Maine Woods Destination Tourism Development
- Facilitation of small grants to 10 local businesses to support Destination Tourism Development
- Technical assistance to home/business owners transitioning to local, renewable heat
- Technical assistance of innovation services to wood products manufacturers
- Investment in Wi-Fi Hot Spot for Penobscot Ave.
- Technical assistance to support downtown revitalization and mill site redevelopment
The Millinocket Housing Initiative is part of the Center's increased focus on community development activities in the Maine Woods, which complements our regional programs to advance innovation in the forest economy to create jobs, leverage investment and conserve working forests.
News coverage of the Millinocket Housing Initiative