HALLOWELL – The Maine Downtown Center, a program of Maine Development Foundation, is thrilled to announce awards for three standout projects and individuals that have made the biggest impacts in our Main Street and Affiliate communities in the past year. The awards were given out during a virtual ceremony.

“These awards highlight the resilience, ingenuity, and creativity of individuals, small business owners, and community organizations who are keeping our downtown economies – and morale – vibrant despite challenges on many fronts, “says Anne Ball, senior program director for MDF’s Maine Downtown Center. “These efforts are shining examples of inclusivity and quality of place that make Maine’s historic downtowns so magical.”

The Maine Downtown Center (MDC) team gathered nominations for the awards during a competitive process, and proudly announce the following winners:

  • Downtown Hero Award: Heather Pouliot is being recognized for her three years working tirelessly as board president of Augusta Downtown Alliance, navigating the group through a complete organizational rebrand, the conversion of Water Street to two-way traffic, and establishing the organization’s first-ever signature event.
  • Downtown Project Award: Friends of Woodfords Corner is being recognized for working with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and their “Imagine People Here Project”, as well as the City of Portland, to install a demonstration project around the intersection of Deering Avenue and Revere Street with the goal of calming traffic flow and creating a safer space for pedestrian crossing.
  • Innovation Award: Rockland Main Street is being recognized for their youth engagement work, conducted with the critical support of their Main Street Fellow Maggie Hirshland. Their approach included extensive outreach and collaboration with community members and organizations that had not previously been involved with Main Street.

“When moving back to Maine, I vowed to give back to my community and make it somewhere I would be proud to live and call my home,” says Pouliot “Please come visit downtown Augusta and see the growth that we have experienced over the last few years!”

The Maine Downtown Center Awards serve as inspiration statewide for communities and individuals working on downtown revitalization. They recognize outstanding efforts in communities which are part of MDF’s Maine Downtown Center program.

Another cause for celebration during the event was the announcement of Monson joining MDC as our 14th Maine Downtown Affiliate community. Over the last year, the town participated in a rigorous application process that culminated last week in a virtual site visit with members of the MDC team and advisors from other MDC member communities. A 2019 Entrepreneur Pilot Project community, Monson has developed a pop-up cottage shed for artists and makers to rent, co-working space in the town hall, and is looking to leverage MDC expertise and technical training to develop recreational tourism opportunities and a green belt connecting outdoor spaces, parks, and public art.

The event also featured 21 reflections on 2021, updates from our second cohort of Main Street Fellows, and remarks from MDF CEO Yellow Light Breen on the critical role of Maine’s downtowns. Event participants participated in short breakout discussions with key community members who are leading work on critical issues such as diversity, equity, and inclusion; leadership; and the value of a local currency program.

To learn more about Maine Downtown Center and how your community can get involved, visit https://www.mdf.org/program-partnerships/maine-downtown-center/.