Scarborough needs Town Center

To the editor,

As a resident of Scarborough since 2005, my wife and I have been extremely proud to call Scarborough home, to raise our four children here and to find meaningful employment in our fields of work. We moved to Scarborough because of its excellent school system and access to beaches, Portland and Boston. Ever since moving here though, we continue to regret that it is missing that classic New England feature: a town center.

It was 2006, the year after we moved here, that the Town’s Comprehensive Plan first outlined the goal for creating a town center in Scarborough. For the last 15 years, municipal leaders and residents have worked to make this goal a reality.

In 2020, I was honored to be chosen for the town’s Downtown Committee — a group of residents chosen by Town Council to shape the vision for the Scarborough town center. For a year, we researched examples of successful town centers, reviewed the town’s previous planning efforts and met with the developers to put the collective vision into an actionable plan. It is thrilling to know we are close to making it a reality.

There are two things I believe are important for all Scarborough residents to realize: first is that The Downs developers are listening, and secondly, is that they don’t have to.

The Downs has hired an expert team to help with the design and planning of the Town Center. When working with our Committee, they listened carefully to our feedback to help make their ideas even better. What’s shocking to me is that the approvals the Downs Team is seeking are required to build Scarborough Downs per the Comprehensive Plan vision. Without this effort, The Downs would be just another single-family Scarborough subdivision: unexciting, financially draining and unaligned with community’s vision.

It is my hope that residents and leaders see the opportunity in front of us: to finally have the type of privately financed town center delivered by a team that really does care about our community.

Bryan Shumway

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