Committed To Becoming More Age-Friendly
Bath United States of America
“Main Street” is a program originated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation that focuses on revitalization of traditional downtowns to enhance the appearance and economic stability of the commercial district, and to improve community pride and quality of life for residents and visitors. The program has been adopted in 44 states and more than 1,650 communities across the country. The Maine Downtown Center (MDC) is affiliated with the National Main Street Center. It assists Maine communities in developing their own self-help revitalization programs. Through the efforts of a group of local volunteers, Bath was selected in 2001 as one of four initial Main Street Maine communities, qualifying it for a 3 year package of training & technical assistance on revitalization provided by the MDC, and paid for by a legislative appropriation plus contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals. Designated communities pay for their own operating expenses and community projects through funds raised locally. Main Street Bath, Inc. (MSB) is a non-profit corporation, guided by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives of the downtown business community, the City government and community leaders.
Its work is carried out through four standing committees made up of community volunteers, who are assisted by a paid Program Director. Funding for MSB comes from 3 year pledges of cash and in-kind donations by businesses, individuals and support from the City Council. Specific projects have been paid for by special solicitations and by fund-raisers.
This grassroots group is at the beginning of its assessment process and so we have not formulated plans yet. Yet the community of Bath has some very successful ongoing initiatives that are targeted to older adults such as the “Comfortably Home” program of Bath Housing, based on the CAPABLE model out of Johns Hopkins which helps older adults assess and complete needed retrofits so they can age safely in their home. Bath also has a “tax club” program which allows home-owners to split their tax bill into more manageable monthly payments. A City bus is available traveling between the business districts, many neighborhoods and some medical facilities. “Livability” has been on the minds of many for some time, and so Bath has a good base upon which to build. Bath is planning an update to its Comprehensive Plan and we will share what we learn as the comprehensive plan update moves forward, The AARP Age Friendly technical assistance in the form of the very valuable guidance from Patricia Oh and the Livability guides will be a tremendous help for our grass-roots group as we collect data through our expected fall assessment, and then set priorities for what may be the most effective steps to take forward.