Tracey Steuber, Lisbon’s economic and community development director, is leaving the town later this month to work in the city of Gardiner. (Contributed photo)

LISBON — Lisbon’s economic and community development director is resigning after six years with the town.

Tracey Steuber is headed to the city of Gardiner to serve as its new planning and economic development director. Her last day in Lisbon is July 26 and she starts in Gardiner on Aug. 5.

While Steuber came to Lisbon after a short stint in the private sector, she’d previously worked for five years in the city of Auburn’s economic and community development office.

Steuber said Wednesday she is very excited about the move, which will allow for professional growth.

“It’s a good opportunity to get back to working for a city form of government,” she said. “Gardiner has a lot going for itself and I’m very excited to bring the experience I’ve had in Lisbon to the city of Gardiner.”

Over her six years in Lisbon, she’s helped take the organization of the Moxie Festival off the plates of town office staff, planning for the annual festival with the help of volunteers. She’s helped spearhead the design of a new website and made promotional flyers and business brochures.

In the past three years, she helped the town draw nearly $1 million in grant funds. Town Manager Diane Barnes said Steuber was instrumental in getting both downtowns revitalized by obtaining infrastructure grants through the state. The first for the Lisbon Falls area totaled $320,000 and she recently won the town another $300,000 for Lisbon Village, along with a $150,000 facade grant.

Steuber also helped the town pull in a $200,000 Brownfield grant through the Environmental Protection Agency, which helps towns fund assessments of potential contamination sites.

Steuber said the town has seen a lot of growth. The downtown in Lisbon Falls has nearly no vacancies. Officials hope to replicate this growth in Lisbon Village.

The former mill town, like many in Maine, has struggled to reinvent itself as the mills closed.

“When I came here, people said we need a restaurant,” Steuber said. “Lisbon is a pass-through community. No one stops.

“And I honestly no longer feel that is the case,” she added. “People are stopping, eating here, eating at Frank’s or Flux and shopping at Eastcraeft,” which are all located on Main Street.

Steuber said the town’s revolving loan fund is also helping draw businesses that need gap funding to make their enterprise possible.

It takes people willing to take a chance to bring a business to Lisbon, “but I also feel that giving them to tools at hand to be able to achieve those goals,” is key, she said. “Lisbon is a community that wants businesses and welcomes new businesses.”

She feels she is leaving the town in position for more good things to come.

Barnes agreed. The town hopes to finish the sidewalks and Graziano Square park in Lisbon Village by the end of summer, which will be a treat addition to that area and hopefully spur some additional economic development.

Gardiner City Manager Christine Landes said in an announcement July 2 that Steuber “brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience …”

Landes said the city is fortunate to have Steuber join their management team, “and lead her department to its full potential.”

Barnes said Steuber is currently earning a $58,000 salary. The salary for Steuber’s replacement will depend on the qualifications and experience of the new economic and community development director. The town has already advertised for the position, “and it will remain open until we find a suitable candidate to fill that position.”

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