Michael Hall has served for nearly eight years as the executive director of the Augusta Downtown Alliance. He has taken a new job as a community development specialist with the city of Waterville. Photo courtesy of Keith P. Luke

AUGUSTA — For nearly eight years, Michael Hall has served as the Augusta Downtown Alliance’s executive director, but he is taking on a new job as a community development specialist with the city of Waterville.

While Hall was not necessarily looking for a change, he said Wednesday he has been wanting to work in economic development for a while.

“None of this was planned,” Hall said. “When I saw the position pop up, I was excited about it. There’s a lot going on up there in terms of development.”

In recent years, downtown Waterville has seen a revival due to the investment of millions of dollars and the redevelopment of a number of buildings. In June, as part of a monthslong visioning process, residents, business owners and city officials identified bringing housing to the city’s downtown area as a priority.

“A big focus on this job is developing upper-floor housing, especially in the downtown area,” Hall said. “I am excited about being able to lend some help on that.”

Waterville Assistant City Manager William Post said Hall’s first day is set for Friday, and Hall’s annual salary will be $63,547.


“We are very happy to welcome Michael to the city and look forward to adding his talents to the city staff as we continue to focus on redeveloping,” Post wrote Wednesday in an email.

For the past decade, downtown Augusta has undergone its own transformation, with changing ownership of a number of buildings that have ushered in residential development on the upper floors and new business and retail tenants at street-level spaces.

At the same time, the Augusta Downtown Alliance has become an accredited Main Street program, focusing on its approaches to developing and supporting a vibrant downtown neighborhood.

During most of that time, Hall has worked on a number of projects, including lobbying for opening up Water Street to two-way traffic. That change has increased traffic on the street and has helped fill storefronts with businesses, he said.

Keith Luke, the economic development director for Augusta, said Hall’s accomplishments include incorporating art throughout downtown, from Raw Spaces Art Walks, which opened up vacant spaces to allow people to see the spaces available for leasing and the art on display.

“I reflect back on the state of the downtown and the vacancy rate when he started and where we are now,” Luke said, “and they are literally night and day.”


A year ago, city officials were heralding the downtown’s 20% vacancy rate as the lowest in years, and since then, the rate has dropped even more, to 18%, he said.

“There have been a couple of closings, but there have been more stores opening,” Luke said. “It’s been a dynamic and largely positive environment, despite the political and socioeconomic challenges with vagrancy and other issues. That being said, it’s been a long time since there have been this many restaurants and other businesses open and active, and maybe even thriving, on Water Street.”

During his time in Augusta, Hall has worked to establish a number of signature events — including Halloween and Christmas festivities — designed to draw people to the city’s historic downtown. He has also integrated art through the sturgeon public art project, adding murals and drawings in pop-up galleries.

Luke said Hall has made being on the Augusta Downtown Alliance board and working as a volunteer enjoyable and memorable, building camaraderie and team spirit.

Hall’s last day was Monday. He had given the board more than six weeks’ notice.

The Augusta Downtown Alliance has posted the executive director’s job on its website — www.augustadowntown.com.

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