Last week, Amazon announced a request for proposals to become the home of a second North American headquarters, with the promise to bring an estimated 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion capital investment. In 2016, Forbes ranked Maine 49th in its annual rankings of the best states for business – the state must change if it truly wants to declare that it is “open for business.”

Amazon is seeking a campus of 500,000 square feet, with the final phase requiring a lot or lots totaling 8 million square feet. The core preferences listed in the proposal are for the site to be within 30 miles of a population center, within 45 miles of an airport and not more than 2 miles from a highway.

Finding a piece of property within the city of Portland could be a difficult task. I say: Be bold – what about the location of the Riverside Municipal Golf Course?

If combined with some of the adjacent property across the river in Westbrook or an additional nearby lot, it would meet the square footage requirements. The golf course is located right next to Interstate 95; a new access ramp could be built right into the property. Understandably, there are significant questions that would need to be addressed, mostly related to housing and public transportation.

There is no question that Portland has become an attractive city to millennials, with a vibrant food, art and culture scene. It will not be surprising if Amazon ultimately chooses a much larger city like Chicago or Boston, but why not try?

If, collectively, there is not the effort to adapt, Maine will continue to be passed over for these kinds of economic opportunities and concede ground to other states. I urge the state of Maine to be bold, because why not Maine?

Ben Longworth

Kennebunk