FirstPark, the Oakland business park supported by 24 communities in the region, is holding its annual budget meeting Thursday night.
Residents of any of the member communities can attend and vote on the $956,000 budget, more than half of which comes from the taxpayers in the communities.
The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the T-Mobile Conference Room at the park.
The 24 cities and towns that are part of the Kennebec Regional Development Authority, FirstPark’s governing body, contribute $587,000 to the business park’s budget and receive less than half of that back in revenue. Municipalities are expected to receive $256,075 in the next fiscal year, up around $2,000 from the current budget.
Following the budget presentation and vote, the group will hold its general assembly meeting to elect officers for the year.
The 24 member communities are Anson, Benton, Canaan, China, Clinton, Cornville, Fairfield, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hartland, Manchester, Norridgewock, Oakland, Palmyra, Pittsfield, Readfield, Rome, St. Albans, Sidney, Smithfield, Solon, Starks, Waterville and Winslow.
Construction began at the 285-acre site in 2001, and the park has 18 of 25 lots available. The one lot sold last year to a local developer was a subdivision of a larger lot, according to First Park Executive Director Brad Jackson.
About half of the roughly 20 businesses at the park are medical offices. The rest largely include medical diagnostic laboratories and a couple of financial firms. The anchor tenant — T-Mobile — runs a call center that employs roughly 600 of the 800 total employees at the park, according to Jackson.
That’s still well short of the park’s initial goal of 3,000 jobs in 20 years; but Jackson, who took over the position about a year ago, said his strategy is to target firms looking to expand in the next 18 months to two years.
He said he’s taking more of a networking approach than a print advertising approach. His goal is to get in front of heads of companies and make the pitch for them to move to central Maine.
That doesn’t necessarily mean just to FirstPark, Jackson said. He said he’s also connected out-of-state companies with others in the area.
However, Jackson said he’s connected with at least one promising lead.
A pharmaceutical company from New York toured the park last spring, he said, and executives there could make a decision about expanding in the next year.
“Are we on target? No. Am I going to get us aggressively on target? No,” Jackson said. “But I think we’ll see slow success beginning 18 months to two years from now.”