ELLSWORTH — With support from Franklin Savings Bank and Maine Community Foundation, Heart of Ellsworth and the City of Ellsworth prepare to launch an asset mapping project of the downtown sector. The project will be conducted by HUB Collective, based in Portland, Oregon. 

The goal of the project is to set strategic direction for Heart of Ellsworth, the City of Ellsworth, and downtown businesses. According to Heart of Ellsworth Executive Director Cara Romano, “We are attempting to align current programs with local revitalization projects that will benefit a cohesive future for the downtown district. With this foundation, Ellsworth’s entrepreneurship programming will advance beyond a short-term focus on immediate and COVID-related issues. This process will support a resilient business community that fosters stability and growth to meet its ever evolving needs.” 

HUB Collective specializes in supporting gateway communities at the head of national parks and outdoor recreational destinations across the country to thrive through creative planning and processes. HUB has a local connection to Ellsworth as its Creative Development Director is a former Ellsworth resident, Jen (Young) Guibord.

The project is funded with a grant received in 2021 from Maine Community Foundation’s Downeast Innovation Fund and a 2022 Franklin Savings Bank sponsorship. Funding from both entities was granted to support foundational entrepreneurship programming for downtown businesses.

HUB Collective will visit Ellsworth April 13-15 to establish downtown workshops titled “Manifesting Main”. Their approach includes onsite visits with downtown businesses and hosting a variety of discussion-based community groups. According to Guibord, “This will be a different sort of planning process, very hands-on and focused on capturing collective community knowledge that might not yet be well documented. Our process allows for conversation and engagement with participants.” 

The goals for the visit include capturing a clear, common vision for downtown that serves everyone; identifying the assets that make downtown great already; defining how those assets can be made stronger; and recognizing how deficits can become assets. This work will allow HUB and Ellsworth to plan incremental, achievable change and develop success measures to track progress toward a collective, cohesive vision. 

The end product will be a tool that’s engaging, easy to understand, and helpful for all levels of decision making involving downtown Ellsworth. Learn more about HUB Collective at hubltd.com.