The Christian Science Monitor

One man's mission to revitalize small-town America

David Leckey of the Orton Family Foundation poses in Shelburne, Vt., where the organization is headquartered. Source: David Karas

Ten years ago, things weren’t looking so good in Biddeford, Maine. Growth was stagnant, particularly because of a controversial municipal waste incinerator – also the town’s largest taxpayer – that occupied some eight acres on the downtown riverfront. There were also infrastructure improvement needs, competing downtown interests, and an image problem.

“The city did not need a short-term, band-aid solution list or lackluster plan,” says Daniel Stevenson, who previously served as Biddeford’s economic development director.

Community leaders decided to partner with the Orton Family Foundation, a nonprofit based in Vermont whose aim is to help towns and small cities become healthier and more economically vibrant. With some 35 neighborhood meetings and the participation of hundreds of residents, Biddeford opted to buy out the waste incinerator and move forward with

Three guides‘A different way of doing business’Other groups that support communities

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor5 min read
Professor Vs. Media Mogul: Populism Plays In Tunisia, Too
In Tunisia’s presidential runoff, the issues are political reform and battling corrupt elites. It’s anti-establishment populism, without xenophobia.
The Christian Science Monitor12 min readPolitics
NRA Troubles: A Hunter Targets The World’s Most Powerful Gun Lobby
NRA corruption allegations have weakened the group. Plenty of gun rights advocates are ready to step in.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min read
Sea Levels Are Rising, So Why Is Coastal Construction?
Sea levels and flooding are on the rise, yet Charleston County, South Carolina, allowed 761 new homes in vulnerable areas over the past decade.