SKOWHEGAN — Main Street Skowhegan is on the move — literally.

The nonprofit downtown revitalization group this month moved from cozy but small offices above The Bankery on Water Street to spacious new digs in an 1890 home on Court Street, Executive Director Kristina Cannon said Monday.

With a growing staff of three full-time people and a part-time office volunteer — up from just Cannon and a part-time assistant — the organization now has plenty of space to stretch and store all the material the group uses for its annual events, Cannon said.

“We love that this office space gives us more space to grow, but we also love it because it’s still in the heart of downtown, among all these historic buildings and with such great history,” she said. “We needed something larger that could accommodate our growing organization and our growing staff and storage needs.”

The new offices overlook the stone-and-steel former county jail, now converted into a grist mill, a yarn shop, a dry goods store, a radio station and a restaurant, built around the same time; as well as the county courthouse and the district courthouse, built in 1997.

Founded in 2005 by a group of community leaders with the goal of reinvigorating the downtown, Main Street Skowhegan is one of 10 municipal members of the Maine Development Foundation, the state’s coordinator for the national Main Street program. There are about 2,000 Main Street communities across the United States, said Anne Ball, project director at the Maine Downtown Center, which oversees the state programs.


“Statewide, the Main Street program of which Skowhegan is part of, and Waterville was a part of, is doing great,” Ball said by phone Monday. “I think Skowhegan’s in a really good place right now.”

Waterville Main Street is no longer in operation, but the events that the group hosted are still very much alive, said Charlie Giguere, who was president of the Waterville Main Street board of directors.

“Waterville Main Street got defunded by the city, so we are not functioning anymore,” Giguere said by phone Monday. “The story is not over yet, but what we’ve done is I moved the events that we had. They have been transplanted to other entities. The events have not died.”

Giguere said Christmas events have been taken over by the Children’s Museum, the farmers market has been handed over to the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, and the city’s flower box program was taken over by REM.

Cannon, a 2003 graduate of Carrabec High School, in North Anson, where her family runs a dairy farm, took over as executive director of Main Street Skowhegan in September 2015.

The organization continues to raise funds for the town’s ambitious Run of River project that will create a whitewater rafting and tubing park down the Kennebec River Gorge through downtown. It also spearheads the annual Maple Festival, River Fest, the Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival, the Main Street Gala and Auction, Small Business Saturday, the Holiday Stroll and this year, the Maine Moose Lottery.


Cannon said she also wants to work on the success of Small Business Saturday to launch a year-round Shop Small program and to expand the area’s agricultural, tourism and food hub activity.

The new building has five offices, two conference rooms, a project area, a large foyer, two bathrooms and a kitchenette.

“One of the reasons that we had to move is we had all this in our office space,” Cannon said with a laugh, opening a side door to a large storage area full of stuff. “Now we have storage space and we have another outdoor unit so that all of our tents from Brew Fest can come down from Hight Ford, where they’re being stored. There also is a basement for storage, too.”

Cannon said Main Street has a five-year lease on the building, which is for sale by owner Warren Shay, a Skowhegan attorney. The building at 48 Court St. was home to lawyers’ offices for many years.

The building’s foyer also is a showcase for work by Skowhegan artist Bernard Langlais. Cannon said the pieces are on the Langlais Art Trail, and she expects visitors to drop by occasionally. There also is a display of photographs by local artists, including Maria Landry, the associate director at Main Street Skowhegan. Tim Sirois is the volunteer and will greet visitors from his desk at the front of the office, she said.

Cannon said the hopes are that some of the office and conference space will be used by local organizations and could support the development of a business incubator for someone who is starting a business and doesn’t have office space yet. The Wesserunsett Arts Council, where Main Street project coordinator Mary Haley also volunteers, soon will be holding its meetings and work sessions in one of the rooms, according to Cannon.


“We are officially moved. We moved on Feb. 1,” Cannon said. “I love the historic aspect of the building, because that’s part of our mission — historic preservation. I love this job and I just want to see this town get better. I love it already, but I think it has such great potential, and we’re willing to do whatever we can to make it happen.

“Revitalizing Skowhegan is our mission and that’s what we’re doing every day.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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