2016-04-08 / Letters

Loss of businesses does not define city

To the editor:

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the business climate in South Portland. A couple of discount stores have moved and a medical practice will soon be relocating. I’m saddened to see those businesses moving away and I wish they could’ve stayed here.

But make no mistake: South Portland is doing extremely well when it comes to business and our economy is growing. Two recent examples: MAC Jets built an impressive new jet aircraft maintenance facility here and Casco Bay Steel Structures is in the midst of a massive expansion. Both of these great Maine-based companies are bringing more jobs and more tax revenue to South Portland, strengthening our local economy.

Our little city is blessed to have a greater diversity of businesses than any other community in Maine. Let that sink in for a moment.

We have retail, hospitality, medical, financial, professional services, technology, light industrial, heavy industrial, marine, transportation, energy, and every kind of small business you can imagine.

Most Maine communities have only one or two of those categories, and quite a few towns depend on just one employer to sustain their entire economy. Those communities would give their right arms to have even a tiny fraction of the breadth and diversity of South Portland’s business community.

When paper mill towns in central and northern Maine lose their biggest employers, leaving most of the residents unemployed and the tax base annihilated, they must envy South Portland’s situation and wonder why we get so upset over losing a discount store. They’d trade places with us in a heartbeat. Ditto for the small coastal towns that are so dependent on fishing that a single bad season can leave much of the town cold and hungry.

It’s often said that South Portlanders love living here because of the neighborhoods. I’d like to challenge everyone to go for a Sunday drive and explore all of South Portland. Venture beyond your own neighborhood and see the entire city, east end to west end. You might be surprised to see how many businesses are here, some you probably didn’t know existed.

To those businesses, I extend my heartfelt thanks for being here and for contributing so much to this great community. South Portland is truly blessed.

Adrian Dowling South Portland

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