SKOWHEGAN — Main Street Skowhegan has a new executive director.

Dugan Murphy, 30, of Portland, takes over Monday, five months after former director Jennifer Olsen left for Waterville Main Street.

Murphy, who grew up in Scarborough, earned a master’s degree in community planning and a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. He also earned certificates in historic preservation and geographic information science at the school.

“The things I’m excited about in Skowhegan is that there’s a Thai restaurant in town, which makes the place feel a little more cosmopolitan,” he said. “The Somerset Grist Mill has made a big splash. I’m finding a lot of people know about the grist mill project, and that’s putting Skowhegan on the map right now.”

He said the Skowhegan farmers’ market and The Bankery also have generated attention.

After college, Murphy said, he returned to Maine and worked briefly with Augusta’s housing authority.

He also ran a nonprofit bicycle clinic in Portland and continues to teach bicycle maintenance and repair. Murphy also likes giving architectural history tours, calling contra dances and performing as a Maine humorist and storyteller, according to his website.

Gene Rouse, president of Main Street Skowhegan, said applicants for the director’s job came from as far away as Boston, Portland and elsewhere on the Maine coast.

“I think he is hyper-qualified,” Rouse said. “I like the choice we made for the director’s job.”

Matthew DuBois, of The Bankery and a member of the Main Street hiring committee and board, said Murphy will be a good fit for Skowhegan.”

“We liked his background in development,” DuBois said. “He’s a Maine resident, which is something that we liked, and he’s had experience in designing and surveying property. He seems like a good asset to bring the organization to the next level.”

Starting annual salary for the position is about $34,000 plus health and vacation benefits. The Main Street Skowhegan annual budget is about $85,000, including director’s salary, office rental, printing and other expenses.

Taxpayers, local businesses and community fundraising each provide one-third of the money to fund the budget.

The Skowhegan and Waterville Main Street programs are part of the Maine Downtown Center’s approach to downtown revitalization, with an eye on maintaining the historic integrity of existing buildings.

The idea was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 and is used in more than 2,200 communities in 44 states.

Other Main Street communities in the state are Bath, Belfast, Biddeford, Brunswick, Gardiner, Rockland, Saco and Sanford.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

 

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