BDN survey seeks the five best economic development ideas for prolonged focus

George Danby cartoon/Bangor Daily News

George Danby cartoon/Bangor Daily News

Do you want to improve Maine? The Bangor Daily News does.

For more than a year, the BDN has been working on a project called MaineFocus with the intention of achieving measurable improvements on what we see as three of the worst problems facing the state: Domestic and sexual abuse, drug abuse and the economy. This is more than a journalism series. It’s a community engagement project that has resulted in dozens of stories, public forums and the building of a diverse MaineFocus brain trust that includes experts from a spectrum of backgrounds. Our hope to identify solutions and then motivate Maine to enact them.

OK, so what’s he point? We need your help. The BDN launched a detailed online survey this week aimed at prioritizing the steps that need to be taken to improve the economy. The survey will identify the top 10 ideas and the BDN will consult with some 50 experts across Maine to cull that list to the five most important. That’s when the real work begins of determining why these ideas haven’t already been implemented and what it will take to bring them to reality.

According to MaineFocus Editor Erin Rhoda, Maine has never launched a long-term statewide strategic economic development plan.

“We want those who live and work in Maine to have an in-depth conversation about the state’s future,” said Rhoda. “Too many times in the past, Maine’s economic development efforts have been disjointed. Worthy initiatives have been under-funded, while less effective initiatives have taken up people’s time and energy.”

The survey — which just a few days after launch has already attracted more than 1,500 responses — is a thought-provoking piece of work in itself. It touches on 20 broad goals and ideas, most of which have been discussed for years, and asks you to rate their importance. It’ll take about five minutes and your feedback will be invaluable. Will you help?

Click here to take the survey, and thanks.

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.