What constitutes the “Sebago Lakes Region?”

A new branding campaign inaugurated by the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce may help answer the question.

As the first phase of the campaign, seven towns – Windham, Standish, Raymond, Casco, Gray, Naples and Sebago – are, with the help of the chamber, funding the purchase and installation of $65 signs that read “Sebago Lakes Region.” The 18-by-24-inch color signs are being placed within 5 to 10 feet of the roadside “Welcome to” signs in each of the towns. Although the signs do not mention the chamber itself, they do feature the chamber’s logo – a snowflake, a leaf and a sun.

The point of the effort, according to Aimee Senatore, executive director of the chamber, is to clearly demarcate the contours of the Sebago Lakes Region.

“To date, there is little being done to brand what towns this region encompasses,” Senatore said. “Whether it be tourists from out of state or people who currently live in our towns, this branding campaign will better educate everyone as to what the Sebago Lakes Region actually is.”

“In New Hampshire, when you’re driving into the area where Lake Winnipesaukee is, you clearly know when you’re in their lakes region,” Senatore added. “They just do a very good job branding it. This is my attempt to start something like that here.”

But the Sebago Lakes Region is not a formal regional entity. Senatore said that the chamber has only offered participation in the initiative to towns that are chamber members.

“The communities that are within our chamber are the Sebago Lakes Region,” Senatore said.

In total, the chamber has purchased 39 of the signs, according to Senatore. Although the towns are funding the purchase and installation of their respective signage, Cumberland County government has pitched in $500 toward the $2,500 initiative, as well.

The signs will not be installed in Bridgton, which is home to the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. The Bridgton chamber also represents several towns that will receive the new signs, including Casco, Naples, Raymond and Sebago. Bridgton chamber director Sue Mercer said she likes the sign initiative.

“I applaud them for their efforts,” Mercer said. “They’re doing whatever they can to support their efforts, and we’re doing whatever we can to support ours.”

Three of the Sebago Lakes chamber’s members are not installing signs – Limerick, Limington and New Gloucester. According to Senatore, New Gloucester may install the signs in coming months, after she meets with the Board of Selectmen.

One of the first signs to go up was in Gray. According to Gray Town Manager Deborah Cabana, the decision to join the initiative was an easy one.

“I think as far as marketing the Lakes Region as a whole, it was pretty much a consensus of the managers representing Cumberland County that it would be beneficial that would be branding ourselves as an area,” Cabana said. “It seems a no-brainer to me that we would associate ourselves with our sister communities.”

Standish Town Manager Gordon Billington said it would enhance the tourist experience in the area.

“I think it’s excellent to give the Lakes Region some identity,” Billington said. “People who are coming here to visit – when they visit the Lakes Region they’ll say, ‘We’ve arrived, we’re here.’ ”

According to Senatore, the signage initiative is the first phase of a broader branding campaign.

“The signage was only Step 1,” Senatore said. “I am encouraged by the support of our community leadership and look forward to more innovative and exciting projects to put the Sebago Lakes Region on the map. This campaign is fostering a stronger sense of partnership and connection within our communities, marketing our region in a new visual way.”

As part of a new branding initiative, seven towns that are members of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce are placing “Sebago Lakes Region” signs next to their “Welcome to” signs. Gray is among the first towns to install one of the signs. Deborah Cabana, Gray’s town manager, left hold one of the new signs with Aimee Senatore, executive director of the chamber. As part of a new branding initiative, seven towns that are members of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce are placing “Sebago Lakes Region” signs next to their “Welcome to” signs. Gray is among the first towns to install one of the signs.  


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