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News Releases from Region 01

EPA to Help Bangor and Waterville, Maine Improve Health, Environment and Revitalize Local Economy

Workshops for Waterville Community Members Next Week

06/22/2017
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
617-918-1017

BOSTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that both Bangor, Maine and Waterville, Maine are among only ten communities selected to participate in the "Healthy Places for Healthy People" planning assistance program. Healthy Places for Healthy People is a new initiative that helps communities leverage health care facilities to foster downtown revitalization and economic growth, improve health and protect the environment.

In many communities, health care facilities can be catalysts for economic development, while investment in existing neighborhoods can improve walkability, protect air and water quality, encourage cleanup and reuse of contaminated properties, and conserve open spaces and natural resources.

Through Healthy Places for Healthy People, a team of experts will help community members and health care facility partners develop strategies and an action plan to address persistent needs, such as better health, improved public safety, basic infrastructure, and jobs. Partner organizations include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities.

In Waterville, Healthy Northern Kennebec – a coalition supported by MaineGeneral Health – will work with Inland Hospital, Colby College, and other partners through the Healthy Waterville initiative to revitalize downtown Waterville, while ensuring that all residents have access to healthy food, health care, and economic opportunity.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to engage so many diverse partners to create a vibrant, healthy community, where everyone thrives," said Fran Mullin, Healthy Northern Kennebec Director.

EPA technical experts will be in Waterville on June 26-27, 2017 to work with local leaders and interested members of the public to create an action plan for the community. On June 26, the public is invited to an open community workshop, from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at Spectrum Generations, Muskie Center, 38 Gold Street, Waterville. On June 27, between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., interested stakeholders will create an action plan during action planning work sessions, which will be held at Colby College, Parker-Reed Room, Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, Mayflower Hill, Waterville. Members of the Waterville community who would like to participate for either session are requested to RSVP to ensure adequate space is available and other logistical factors. Please RSVP via (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WatervilleHP2) or contact Jane Allen at (207) 861-5203 or Jane.Allen@MaineGeneral.org.

In Bangor, the City, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Acadia Hospital, Penobscot Community Health Care (a Federally Qualified Health Center), and other partners will work to integrate public and environmental health initiatives with downtown revitalization strategies, including creating more transportation opportunities and promoting businesses development downtown. EPA will schedule workshops in Bangor with local officials and members of the public in the fall.

"We look forward to this opportunity to work with the EPA's team and our health partners to more closely align public health goals with our community and economic development planning," said Tanya Emery, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Bangor. "Our region continues to struggle with many public health challenges, and this integrated approach with EPA is an exciting opportunity for Bangor."

EPA support for Healthy Places for Healthy People is provided through the Office of Sustainable Communities, which promotes locally led, community-driven solutions that protect human health and the environment and strengthen local economies.

More information:

Healthy Places for Healthy People (www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/healthy-places-healthy-people)

Map of Healthy Places for Healthy People communities (www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-06/hp2_map2017.jpg)