King Introduces Bill to Boost Maine’s Waterfront Communities


BRUNSWICK, ME – August 7, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced today that he has introduced legislation aimed at boosting efforts to revitalize waterfront communities in Maine and make them more resilient in the face of a changing environment. TheWaterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act will support community efforts to make the most of water resources by attracting water-dependent industries and investments that leverage water sustainability, revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing recreation and tourism.

“From Maine’s rocky coast to our pristine lakes and rushing rivers, waterfront communities help drive our state’s economy,” said Senator King. “Many of our citizens’ livelihoods depend on their proximity to the water – whether it’s a lobsterman Downeast or a manufacturer on the Androscoggin – residents of waterfront communities need our support as the environment changes and valuable development resources are strained. We’ve already seen how climate change is affecting our fishing industry, and it’s time to act. This bill would help make our waterfront communities healthier and more sustainable in the long run, and given the challenges they are facing now, it couldn’t come sooner.”

Many waterfront communities were built around their water resources years ago, and are now working to reposition and overcome issues such as limited public access and poor alignment with modern development. In addition to adapting to economic shifts, waterfront communities are facing pressures to meet increasing demands on water resources; make resilient investments that can withstand weather extremes like storms, floods, and fluctuating lake levels; and adapt to changing environmental conditions that range from shoreline erosion to stresses on fisheries.

The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act would also create an information sharing network, support communities to plan for their future, provide the tools to implement those plans, and help them attract private and non-profit investment. The bill is led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and is also cosponsored by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

Waterfront planning and implementation requires communities to navigate intergovernmental hurdles, work across constituent groups and agencies, and secure financing. But many communities lack the resources to make it from vision to reality – despite the economic returns from revitalization and the payoff that resiliency preparation can provide in the long term.

The Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act aims to solve these problems by:

  • Creating a voluntary Resilient Waterfront Community designation within the Department of Commerce. The designation recognizes communities that adopt a waterfront revitalization and resiliency plan integrating economic, ecosystem, and infrastructure challenges and opportunities.
  • Creating a Grant Program providing funding to develop and implement a Resilient Waterfront Community plan. Grants could be used to advance various projects, such as:
    • Improving waterfront access or acquiring easements from developers for public amenities
    • Making infrastructure upgrades that improve coastal resiliency
  • Establishing a Resilient Waterfront Communities network to support sharing of best practices, highlight Resilient Waterfront Communities, and help attract new investment.
  • Establishing preferred status in other federal grant and loan programs for Resilient Waterfront Communities. Reinvestment and resiliency can reduce long-term costs to taxpayers and spur economic growth. This bill would help projects in Resilient Waterfront Communities move forward more quickly and help maximize the value of federal investments in these communities.

A one-page summary of the Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act is available here.


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