Sunday, January 22, 2012

Piscataquis Village Project Update

"Is it possible for a gang of amateurs from the Maine woods to pull off the nation's first and most audacious Traditionally Designed Village project in the most sparsely populated county east of the Mississippi?"

"Is it possible that such a project can be funded not by major real estate developers, but crowdfunded from the bottom up by small investors or future residents?"

Hello to "contingent investors" and others that have an interest in the Piscataquis Village Project.

What's hard about this?

In the nine month period from when the Piscataquis Village Project Facebook site was first established, until our last update at the end of November, we had gone from zero to 400 fans. In the six week period since November that number has more than doubled to over 800. These "fans" come from all over, geographically (mostly Maine and New England), but the ones I find most gratifying are those originally from Piscataquis County, now living elsewhere, who see the Piscataquis Village Project as perhaps a way they can return "home". A PVHS graduate living in Texas writes, "I'm so excited for all the attention!....So where do things go from here? Let me know! I'm pretty broke, but I'll do what I can putting on online time!"

Since the last update we have been contacted by a London based documentary television company called Raw Television, the makers of Gold Rush for Discovery Channel and Locked Up Abroad for National Geographic. They were looking to do a project about people moving into a new community. While we were ultimately decided not to be "the right fit", it was a rush for a few days and demonstrates the ability of the Piscataquis Village Project to pique interest.

More importantly, we were contacted by a guy named Mike Lydon who had, "heard rumblings of late regarding your Piscataquis Village Project." Mike is a founding principal of a planning firm called The Street Plans Collaborative. He is also a co-author of a book titled The Smart Growth Manual, ranked as "one of the 10 best urban planning, design, and development books published in 2010". The other two co-authors were Jeff Speck and Andres Duany, probably the most prominent of the "New Urbanists", and the designer of Seaside in Florida. We expect continuing conversation with Mike at the Street Plans Collaborative as the Project develops.

Most Importantly since the last update, we have picked up two more contingent investors bringing us to a total of 23 households with committed pledges of $280,000. We've also had our first investor with no direct connection to Piscataquis county, who states that his goal is to "...support the creation of the first car-free, traditional city settlement on the continent." This project isn't just about building one community. It's also about constructing an alternative model for future development.

Folks, we're now in the initial, fragile stage, of this new project, where each additional "non-legally binding commitment" is a vital step to reaching a certain critical mass. We're still pushing that snowball up the paradigm change hill.

Investor commitments are essential. Please consider, or reconsider, becoming a "contingent investor" / future building lot owner, in the Piscataquis Village Project.

"Like"ing and especially, "sharing", the Piscataquis Village Project Facebook page contributes to our publicity efforts as does forwarding this email. If you are unable to open the Piscataquis Village Slide Presentation, I will be happy to forward a pdf. version to you.

Piscataquis Village Project Slide Show

Piscataquis Village Project Website

Piscataquis Village Project Update, November 2011

Piscataquis Village Project translates "Dirigo" as "Let's Get 'er Done!"
Tracy Gayton

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