Gabe quoted in BDN article on Monson revitalization effort

Todd Gabe, an economics professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News article, “A wealthy group bought the heart of a poor Maine town to build an artist colony.” Since October, the nonprofit Libra Foundation has spent $750,000 buying property in Monson, and plans to spend as much as $10 million to revive the small rural town, according to the article. Gabe, who has studied the state’s economy for 18 years, said Libra will need to work hard to make Monson competitive with other tourist towns. “You have to catch people’s eyes,” Gabe said. “When people think of Maine, they think of the coast and lobsters. Ever since I have been here, there have been attempts to move tourists from the coast to other parts of the state.” The foundation plans to convert houses into artist residences and a community center into studio space. The store would sell art and produce from farms in Piscataquis County, the article states. Gabe, who wrote a book on economic development, said competition will be strong. “A lot of people try to use the arts,” he said. “A lot of coastal communities are seasonal, so if places along the coast aren’t staying open year-round, given their volume [of visitors], I wouldn’t expect that to happen in Monson.”