Partner Event – Talk of the Towns: Workforce Housing in Maine’s Historic Coastal Downtowns

March 20, 2024 – 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Stonington Opera House
1 School Street
Stonington , ME 04681
Directions via Google

The Town of Stonington is excited to present the third in its new series of public conversations and media screenings at the Stonington Opera House on issues that bridge, matter to, and unite our area communities. The series, Talk of the Towns, will resume on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 pm in partnership with Island Workforce Housing on a topic of primary regional importance: “Workforce Housing in Maine’s Historic Coastal Downtowns.”

The spiraling real estate market, in which houses are secondary investments for those who can afford them rather than the homes communities need to shelter our workforces and vulnerable community members, continues to exert damaging pressure on the local economies and sustainability of coastal Maine towns. The lack of affordable housing, including for what has become known as the “missing middle” class of working professionals including teachers, nurses, plumbers, and electricians, makes it increasingly difficult for the engine of our year-round communities – small businesses, necessary services, and schools – to survive. What policies and actions can we as municipalities, nonprofits, and community members take to better balance market forces?

The gathering will include a short media clip and a conversation facilitated by Linda Nelson, Stonington’s Economic & Community Development Director.

Special Guests Include:

  • Jim Fisher, Deer Isle Town Manager
  • Genevieve McDonald, Executive Director, Island Workforce Housing
  • Noel Musson, planning, policy, and permitting, The Musson Group
  • Marla O’Byrne, Executive Director, Island Housing Trust
  • Mark Primeau, the Genesis Fund
  • Robert O’Brien of Camoin Associates

The free evening opens at 6 pm in the Stonington Opera House lobby with special snacks, beverages, and a chance for everyone attending to mingle and talk informally with invited special guests and neighbors old and new.

This is the third in a new, free series of gatherings and conversations convened by the Town of Stonington, hosted by Opera House Arts, and sponsored by the Island Institute on topics that directly impact island and area residents. The fourth and final event in the 2024 series is an evening co-presented with Maine Sea Grant on April 24, “Small-Scale Aquaculture: A Look Ahead,” in celebration of Maine Seaweed Week.