Big boost for Skowhegan project

Published: Aug. 3, 2018 at 6:28 PM EDT
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Some hear the gushing of water down the river, while others hear untapped potential.

"There's huge economic impact value for this project, and I think it's potentially going transform Skowhegan into a destination for whitewater boating but also outdoor recreation in general," says Kristina Cannon, Executive Director of Main Street Skowhegan.

The project Cannon is talking about is Run of River, a proposed whitewater recreation area in the Kennebec River Gorge.

"The town of Skowhegan has been planning for Run of River for a lot of years now," says Cannon. "And we really feel like we're starting to build some momentum."

That's in part due to the big news they got this week.

"We just found out that we now have a 50-thousand dollar pool of money to start working with and help with some of the next steps for the whitewater recreation area," says Cannon.

The goal is to boost the region's economy.

"The economic impact study showed very favorable results from an income generating standpoint and an economic impact for the town and the county, but also from a job creation standpoint," says Cannon."

And local business owners agree.

"This is a good opportunity to use our river as an asset rather than an afterthought," says Matthew Dubois, Owner of the downtown Skowhegan businesses The Bankery and Skowhegan Fleuriste.

"I'm excited to see the job growth opportunity for our community as well, and I think the local business community will definitely benefit by that."

The news of the donation coincides perfectly with the town's annual River Fest.

"The whole point of River Fest is to showcase the potential for Run of River and the whitewater recreation area and to really celebrate life on the river," says Cannon.

River Fest concludes Saturday with activities on the river as well as fireworks.