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Community Service Leadership Initiative

Reviving Service Centers – Volume 1 Report of the Task Force on Service Center Communities

Maine State Planning Office August 1998 


The Task Force on Regional Service Center Communities was established by the 118th Legislature to recommend ways of reversing the decline of Maine’s principal service center communities and ways of strengthening them as centers of job   creation and for the delivery of critical services to surrounding regions.

Analysis and Findings 

The Task Force’s keystone for determining the status of Maine’s service centers was identification of factors that make a strong, vibrant regional center. The more than 25 factors fall into four categories: growing community, vibrant economy, quality of housing and infrastructure, and community well-being. We then assessed each service center by these factors to arrive at its overall condition, strengths and weaknesses. In summary, we discovered that our service center communities are not growing and that their economic state is cause for concern. While service center housing and infrastructure is in reasonably good shape, there is no consistent pattern of community well-being among the 69 cities and towns.


The Task Force developed two products: an Assessment of Community Conditions and a set  of 20 Regional Service Center Recommendations. A renewed interest in this set of cities and towns began in 1995, when Mayor John  T. Jenkins of Lewiston convened the Maine Regional Service Center Communities Forum. The Forum’s purpose was to build public awareness of the significance of regional centers through information, advocacy and policy analysis. This direction was continued in the article “Service-Center Communities: An Urban Policy for Maine?”, which appeared in the Fall 1996 issue of Maine Business Indicators.


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