A city of 16,000 on the banks of the Kennebec River, Waterville was once known as a mill and factory town famous for producing high-end goods such as Hathaway dress shirts. But the demise of that sector of the economy left the community at a crossroads. What would its next chapter hold?
In an effort to reinvent itself for the digital age, community leaders embraced a vision of the future and have committed to a journey of digital economic development. The Central Maine Growth Council partnered with local higher-education institutions Colby College and Thomas College, as well as the Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space — itself located in the former Hathaway factory — to secure a $1.2 million U.S. Economic Development Administration Build to Scale grant to spark this transformation.
The Rural Edge series
At CORI, we have a saying: once you’ve seen one rural community, you’ve seen one rural community. America’s small towns are diverse and dynamic, and through our work with our Rural Innovation Network, we have the privilege of working in depth with 20 communities building digital economy ecosystems. To highlight these incredible places, Siegel Family Endowment and the Walmart Foundation provided funding for us to create video case studies highlighting our communities’ efforts.
Check out previous installments in the series: