Biddeford, MAINE – Joined by local leaders, Governor Mills today visited Biddeford where she applauded the City and its people for their ongoing economic revitalization work. As part of her visit, Governor Mills toured the former Lincoln Mill, the site of a mixed-use redevelopment that will feature new loft rentals, a hotel, a restaurant, a fitness facility, along with a conference and events center and rooftop pool and bar. The redevelopment of the former textile mill is part of Biddeford’s ongoing economic revitalization efforts to expand business and housing opportunities in the city.
The Governor was joined by Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau, State Senator Susan Deschambault, Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant, and project developers Tim Harrington and Eric Chinburg.
“Biddeford is a model for how Maine communities can adapt, grow, and strengthen our economy,” said Governor Mills. “I am incredibly impressed by the progress the city is making in revitalizing our former mills and turning them into new hubs of opportunity for housing, small businesses, and tourism.”
“Governor Mills has joined me in prioritizing affordable housing construction because we understand what a challenge it is for Maine communities right now. Biddeford, like most places, faces rising housing costs. Maine needs to build more units per year as a state to maintain pace of demand and keep costs lower,” said Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau. “The Lincoln Mill project is a big step forward for Biddeford’s housing stock, adding 147 apartments in our town. Working together with state and federal partners, our community has redeveloped and infused new energy into vacant mills. We got to share that growth today.”
“Everyone who lives in Biddeford knows how resilient this city is. Over the years, we’ve grown from a small mill town into a cultural center and hub for unique retail shops,” said Senator Deschambault. “I know Biddeford will keep growing and innovating into the future, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to celebrate that spirit.”
“Biddeford has always been a city of character and hardworking people,” said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant. “The city has aggressively and creatively partnered with the private sector to stimulate a renaissance of community pride and a reinvigorated, local-centric economy. Incredibly, the best is yet to come!”
Following her tour of the Lincoln Mill complex, Governor Mills participated in a walking tour of local small businesses on Main Street, including Sugar, Nibblesford Cheese Shop, Lorne Wine, Luscious Curves Boutique, and Time & Tide Coffee.
“There is nothing better than getting out to see firsthand the great work of our small businesses,” said Governor Mills. “Throughout the pandemic, they have adapted with ingenuity and determination to keep their customers safe and our economy moving forward. I am grateful for their work and my Administration will continue doing all we can to support them as we recover from the pandemic.”
Governor Mills also visited the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology, one of Maine’s 27 career and technical education centers. Governor Mills is a strong supporter of Maine’s CTEs and is investing $20 million for CTE program, equipment and facility upgrades as part of the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her plan approved by the Legislature to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary Federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act.
As Attorney General, Governor Mills used funds she obtained through a settlement with Bath Fitter to create plumbing programs at several CTEs in Maine, including at Biddeford Regional Center of Technology.
“Jobs in the trades bring with them good skills and good pay, as well as stable, life-long careers, which is why investments in CTEs like the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology are critical to our economic recovery and long-term growth,” said Governor Mills. “Through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, we will use American Rescue Plan funds to support our CTEs and help them train students so they can be on track for rewarding careers with Maine small businesses that are just waiting to hire them.”
“We are very honored to host Governor Mills and Commissioner Makin in our building and programs as part of an ongoing focus on workforce development and retention in Maine, and we are grateful for the ongoing financial support that Governor Mills has given to all our 27 CTE schools in our State,” said Biddeford Regional Center for Technology Director Paulette Bonneau. “Career and technical education, formerly called ‘voc education,’ is not what we know it to have been. CTE is STEM. CTE is preparing students not only with technical skills of the future but also an integral part of our training is focused on developing functional employability skills often referred to as the ‘soft skills.’ Although Governor Mills toured a 52 year old building today, what she saw inside was 21st Century skill building programs. Every program we offer supports economic development and a viable career for our youth. Automation and technology has significantly changed and will continue to impact how we teach and what we teach. We will need to be agile, and to work closely with our industry and business partners to provide our youth with career pathways that will not only support their livelihood but also our great State of Maine.”
“The programs offered by Biddeford Regional Center for Technology provide 21st century learning experiences that will ensure the thriving future of Maine’s students and our economy,” said Commissioner of Education Pender Makin. “The investments in our CTE centers and staff are investments in our future. The students of these programs are utilizing technology, problem solving, and innovation that will transfer into any future career, and they are receiving specialized training toward immediate, high-quality employment opportunities.”
Under the leadership of Governor Mills’, the State has strengthened its relationship with municipalities like Biddeford, restoring Municipal Revenue Sharing to five percent and finally achieving 55 percent of the cost of K-12 public education.