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  • Waterville, Maine's revitalization: a real recipe for success

    Photos by Ramona du Houx

    I grew up South of Augusta in Hallowell and Waterville, when I was young, was the town you went to to buy things. It had a vibrant downtown and a lot of retail and a lot of traffic. I think that over the past 20 to 25 years, like many downtowns, that has slowly shifted away and moved out to the periphery to other places.

    But what we’re seeing now in Waterville is this incredible resurgence, which is the function of many things. Colby’s investment, the town’s longterm planning, and the Chamber of Commerce has played a major role. What it’s done for people like me—those in redevelopment—is it’s attracted us to look to a town that doesn’t just have buildings that can be developed, but to a town that is in favor of going in that direction. It’s looking toward a vision to fulfill. And with all of these players involved—any I haven’t yet mentioned Thomas College, and many others—have come up with a vision of what they hope to see in the town.

    Add to this the magic of the aforementioned investment by Colby and you have a real recipe for success.

    Waterville is now at an accelerated growth mode because of all of the planning they have done and now there is the realization of capital to accompany that planning. What I think you will see is infill development. So you look at downtown and there are old buildings that will be renovated, but then there will be new buildings that are constructed within that fabric. That will continue and stretch to the peripheries of downtown.

    wrote about this particular moment for the Kennebec Journal a few months back, and my colleague Tom Siegel, who is developing a project for us on the old Seton site in Waterville, also wrote at length about the significance of this moment.

    What Waterville has done well is they have planned for this growth. A lot of communities will go through a long planning process but then it comes time to actually grow. Waterville has done that planning and attract investment and so now the growth is occurring. So I think in 5 years, you’re going to see changes in traffic patterns, how people live, how people get to work and everything that comes with development as it exits the planning phase and enters one of growth. It will have a remarkable impact on the community at large.

    Kevin Mattson

    About Kevin Mattson

    Kevin Mattson is the Managing Partner of Dirigo Capital Advisors. Having entered the field of commercial real estate in 1997, he has since overseen the execution and development of many large scale, award winning projects. Mattson has been appointed to positions by Governors King and Baldacci, and he has served on the board of the Maine Children’s Home in Waterville, Maine. Prior to his career in real estate development, Mattson worked for the Maine Legislature as the Chief of Staff for the House Majority Leader. He was awarded a BA in Accounting from Skidmore College and received an MBA from the University of Maine. He resides in Freeport with his wife Jeannie, and their two sons, Fionn and Ronan, and is an unabashed lover of King Crimson.

    The Hathaway Center was renovated using newly established Historic renovation tax credits, which leveled the playing field for devlopers. So they could renovate historic properties at a simalar cost to building new ones. Photo by Ramona du Houx

  • Colby and Bigelow Laboratory combine art and science in exhibit

    A novel art, science, and educational collaboration is underway between Colby College and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Six different professors in disciplines ranging from biology to the art and humanities have integrated a photographic exhibit of marine microbes, created by Bigelow Laboratory, into their curriculum this fall.

    The exhibit is on display at Colby College through December 11, and culminates in a presentation of student-inspired work that evening at 5 pm in the Wormser Room at the college.
    Among the offerings, the event is scheduled to feature a microbe-inspired dance, microbial marble sculptures, scientific discussion about the relevance of marine microbes to planetary balance, and instant DNA technology.
  • Bigelow Laboratory and Colby College collaborate with Tiny Giants exhibit

    Marine microbes produce half the oxygen we breathe. They are the base of the food chain, and without them the food source for billions of people would be threatened. Microbes also offer the potential for discoveries of new pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements and fuel sources and the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change.

    They also are stunningly beautiful.

    The invisible world of marine microbes will be revealed through a photographic art exhibit at Colby College throughout the fall semester from Sept. 17-Dec. 17.

    Eighteen large images (up to five feet by four feet) make the invisible microscopic marine organisms visible, helping to tell the stories of the critical roles these tiny creatures play in planetary health and balance.

    “Our idea behind the Tiny Giants images was to pique people’s imaginations about the invisible creatures that we study that are vital to our very existence,” said Dr. Benjamin Twining, director of research and education at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, where the exhibit was created. “Their visual depiction provides the opportunity for people to also learn about marine microbes. We are delighted that Colby College decided to take this a step further and explore microbes from a variety of vantage points, from using them as a muse for sculptural inspiration to examining how microbial knowledge might be used to help guide policy positions.”

    Colby professors in biology, environmental science, the humanities, art, theater and dance will use the exhibit as a launching point in their fall courses as they integrate the concept of invisible marine microbes into their respective disciplines.

    “We’re excited to show the images in the Tiny Giants exhibition on campus this fall” said Colby Provost and Dean of Faculty Lori G. Kletzer. “Colby’s strategic partnership with Bigelow Laboratory provides world-class opportunities in marine science and climate science for our students—we knew that. And now the unique aesthetic for examining the natural microbial world through these photos completely reinforces the interdisciplinary approach that both our institutions value so highly.”

    The Tiny Giants exhibit will formally opened with a reception in Miller Library on Colby’s campus on Thursday, Sept. 17th.

    Photographs will be on view at three campus locations through Dec. 17: at the Miller Library, Olin Science Library and the Davis Curricular Gallery in the Colby College Museum of Art.

    Participating Colby faculty members who will incorporate Tiny Giants into semester activities include the Julian D. Taylor Associate Professor of Classics and Director of Colby’s Center for the Arts and Humanities Kerill O’Neill, Professor of Science, Technology, and Society James R. Fleming, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Denise A. Bruesewitz, Assistant Professor of Art Bradley A. Borthwick, Associate Professor of Art Tanya R. Sheehan, Associate Professor of Biology Catherine R. Bevier, and Technical Director in Theater and Dance John E. Ervin.

    The art and science educational collaboration will conclude with an event in early December that will showcase students’ work inspired by Tiny Giants.

    The exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours and when the museum is open, and it offers an unprecedented opportunity to see the invisible—and the beauty and wonder of these diminutive creatures that play such an important role in keeping the planet balanced. The photos represent the technological and scientific achievement of capturing microscopic marine microbes that are invisible to the naked eye. Scientists at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences took the photographs at three different scales, using three different types of microscopes.

    Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory’s research, education, and technology transfer programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.