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A steering committee convened and chaired by President David A. Greene will meet today to begin discussing ways to build on existing efforts to make downtown Waterville into a more vibrant, dynamic destination for residents, visitors, and businesses. The effort is a partnership of Colby College and civic and business leaders in Waterville, all of whom share the goal of stimulating the city’s economic, retail, and job growth.

Since he arrived at Colby last year, Greene has consistently emphasized the College’s commitment to help drive positive change for the city. “The prosperity of Waterville and Colby have been linked for more than two hundred years,” he said. “We have a terrific opportunity to further our shared interests through strategic investments in Waterville’s historic center, long a regional hub for commercial activity and the arts.”

In his role as executive vice president at the University of Chicago, Greene was instrumental in successful efforts to revitalize areas on the city’s South Side. Those efforts centered on economic development, which will be a key element of the Waterville planning discussions. Questions will include how to increase the residential and retail base in downtown Waterville and how to build on existing strengths in the arts to turn the city into an even more dynamic cultural center.

Members of the steering committee include representatives from the City of Waterville, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, Waterville Main Street, Waterville Creates!, and the Maine Film Center, as well as leaders from local businesses, hospitals, and colleges. “We have pulled together an incredible team of people who are knowledgeable and passionate about and invested in the future of this city,” said Greene. “We are eager to work together to develop ideas and implement plans that will have a positive impact on Waterville and the surrounding towns.”

“This partnership has the potential to make a tremendous difference for the people of the city and the surrounding areas,” said Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro. “I am glad to be involved, and I’m looking forward to a productive process with this group of committed members of our community.”

Results of the first and subsequent meetings, as well as other updates about the process and progress of the initiative, will be posted on a new site, colby.edu/downtown, which offers an opportunity for members of the public to submit feedback and request updates via e-mail.