By Wayne E. Rivet
As Director of Community Development, Linda LaCroix helped plant the seeds of Bridgton’s rebirth.
Now she is retiring after just under three years at the helm of CDD and can’t wait to see these plants grow and bloom.
His resignation is effective Tuesday, July 26, but LaCroix will participate in the transition process until August 12.
City Manager Robert Peabody has appointed current Assistant Community Development Manager Victoria Hill as CDD, subject to confirmation by the Bridgton Select Board at its July 26 meeting. If confirmed, Hill will be the new Director of Community Development effective July 27.
“Linda took on the role amid a whirlwind of activity in the city and after the position had been vacant for a considerable period of time. She has proven to be a competent and effective manager and community leader. I appreciate his efforts and wish him well in retirement,” Peabody said.
LaCroix felt the time was right to retire.
“The City is in a great position for me to step aside and let a young, competent and qualified person take the reins,” she said. “While I really loved my job, it’s also time for me to take a step back and enjoy this beautiful city and the excitement of the new things happening there. Mine has been an exciting and exciting life. multi-faceted and I find myself ready to slow it down and maybe write the books I intended to write.
LaCroix became CDD in early November 2019. She has certainly had several irons in the fire at once and is quite proud of the accomplishments during her tenure.
“We accomplished the main task given to me, which was to make the City’s investment in wastewater and streetscape profitable. People and businesses are moving in, arts and culture abound in the form of murals, art walks, music and galleries, we have the Global Plan update underway with new efforts ready to go to reach the whole community, bring an open space plan and a platform to assess priorities based on whether they increase resilience within the city,” she said. “Funds from the net energy metering program will reduce the city’s electricity costs by $462,000 over 20 years, and multiple changes to the new land use code have saved more than $56 million in development that would not have happened without the fine tuning of the prescription.”
LaCroix also pointed to the consolidation of five land use ordinances into one land use code that has helped eliminate duplication and conflict and streamline the application process for people developing properties in Bridgeton.
Other accomplishments include:
• Two new tax increment funding programs were passed that helped bring the memory care facility and the soon to be launched 55+ housing facility to the city, creating approximately 60 new jobs in Bridgton.
• A development program that will support further expansions of sewage, streetscape, childcare programs and other important projects.
“The economic and market analysis report was written by the University of Maine and has been an excellent source for community development work and will form an important part of the overall plan update,” he said. she adds.
• Produced a popular swag show that put Bridgton on the map.
• Loon Echo is upgrading the main trail in Pondicherry Park to be ADA compliant.
• Bridgton is focusing on citywide broadband with new plans from Consolidated to build infrastructure in every corner.
“If there’s one thing I’m most proud of, it’s people getting in and out, which is especially important after everything we’ve been through with Covid,” LaCroix said.
What will he miss the most?
“The people I work with and engage with every day. Bridgton is very special because of the people who live, work and play here,” she said.
So what’s in his future?
“Ha, ha – to rest! Otherwise, just to enjoy this beautiful place and as I mentioned, maybe start writing – not going anywhere, so the city is stuck with me! she says.