Vote for Caterina for State House

To the editor,

When I needed help to resolve an issue with my town government, I reached out to one of my Scarborough town councilors, Jean-Marie Caterina. I didn’t know her at the time, but she quickly got the right people involved to address the problem. Since then, I started paying closer attention to town council meetings and it became clear to me that Caterina was always prepared and knowledgeable about the issues and always looking for opportunities to build consensus around practical and smart solutions to problems big and small.

She is a dedicated, compassionate public servant and I am thrilled that she is now a Democratic candidate for State Representative in the new House District 126 which primarily includes north and west Scarborough plus adjacent areas of Saco and Westbrook. She will continue to bring her commitment to serve all her constituents to the legislature. Please vote for Jean-Marie on June 14.

Linda Stevens
Scarborough

Town Center would be good for residents

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To the editor,

As a lifelong resident of Scarborough and a mother to three school aged children in Scarborough, I have closely followed the development plans taking shape at The Downs. I am beyond excited by the recently presented plans for our future Town Center! Our community has wanted a Town Center for over a decade, and we are so close to making it a reality. It is exciting to picture my kids playing in the new park while my husband and I have a drink at one of the open-air restaurants; or that we finally can build a community center with a pool and turf; or even to imagine what types of small businesses would be interested in coming to Scarborough. The developers’ proposal for a privately-financed Town Center is a win-win. It will generate revenue for the Town of Scarborough that could be used for a variety of things (including the construction of the community center) and it creates a public benefit we all can enjoy. What’s most exciting about the creation of a true Town Center is that Scarborough’s hometown pride could become even stronger than it is today. Let’s work together and support the possibility of making this happen.

Kaleigh Anderson
Scarborough

Downs development a good thing

To the editor,

I have watched the Downs development along the way, and I see so much potential in The Downs development. It can be a place that brings our entire community together. This is not an easy task, but I believe that if done correctly, The Downs will provide a place for the community to gather, for businesses to thrive, a safe place for children to play, and will create a central location that brings all corners of our vast town together. Even in its name, Scarborough is known for its separate and distinct boroughs, and it would be awesome if we had one place where everyone could gather, relax or play.

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As a lifelong Mainer, and someone who has raised two children here in Scarborough, I have been disheartened at the divisiveness in our town. Taxes, budgets, growth plans, education, and so on. While we don’t all necessarily agree on many things, at the core, don’t we all want the same thing – a safe, affordable community in our beautiful part of the world?

Scarborough is now divided over The Downs — a project that is attempting to bring us together. This discussion around developing a Town Center should be a collaborative one about how we can achieve this together. The definition of a Town Center quite literally boils down to the ‘most important central area to a town.’ The opportunity we have at The Downs is rare, and the developers appear to be listening. While they could build anything they want on this land, they are offering to build something with us, not for us.

I personally would like to see discussion shift away from what we individually want (or don’t want) and focus more on how we can build something together. The Town of Scarborough is endeavoring to create the heartbeat of our community and if done collaboratively, it will benefit all community members, now and into future generations.

Amelia Dow
Scarborough

To the editor,

By 2023, it is likely that The Downs development will become the Town of Scarborough’s number one source of tax revenue. Town leaders should be applauded for their recent and continued efforts to maximize town tax revenue through the creation and expansion of Scarborough’s Downtown TIF district, which includes the land at The Downs. A TIF is a tool used by municipalities use to ‘shelter’ revenue from state and county taxes and keep 100-percent of the newly created tax revenue local. By doing this, Scarborough can reinvest that revenue locally in projects that matter to residents, including the construction of a school, a community center, affordable housing, public safety, broadband, traffic or even trail improvement projects without asking for a property tax increase.

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Within the Town’s recent amendment to the Downtown TIF District there will be about $200M in new revenue created for the Town of Scarborough, almost entirely by the new development at The Downs, including the future Town Center. If Scarborough leaders did not ‘shelter’ this money through the TIF District, that revenue would not be available for important local projects. Revenue generated by The Downs will provide a clear avenue for the Town of Scarborough to accomplish goals without putting key projects on the backs of taxpayers.

The Town of Scarborough has maximized revenue coming from The Downs in a very advantageous way for local municipal projects, and their work behind the scenes should be recognized. However if The Downs isn’t allowed to move forward, the revenue generated and reinvested locally will be far less.

As a Scarborough business owner and resident, I am proud to be working alongside The Downs and the Town of Scarborough to maximize the financial benefits of this public/private partnership. Together we will build a strong and sustainable future for Scarborough.

Jim Damicis
Scarborough