Community Catalyst


In January of 1996 REM sponsored a Community Catalyst Process with the help of the folks of The Center for Consensual Democracy and a computer assisted planning process designed and led by Dr. Michael Kelly.  This 3 day planning process on the stage of the Waterville Opera House involved more than 250 area citizens.


Primary to the process was a group of 48 people referred to as the Dream Team…carefully chosen to represent the demographics and diversity of our local community.



Nancy Hill and Lloyd Wells observing



Interested people from as far away as Washington DC came to observe the process.  People in the audience who had ideas they wanted included sent notes via ushers to the stage where the ideas were presented by members of the Dream Team.  Those ideas were then entered into the computer and became part of the permanent record of the event.




Dream Team writing the vision on the stageEvery idea was projected on the wall of the stage and everyone on the stage and in the audience could see.


The entire first day was a visioning process.  Every word spoken was written and anyone who wanted to make a change could do so.  At the end of the day the Mid-Maine Strategic Vision for the Year 2020 was signed by every participant.


In the 2012 Inauguration of Mayor Karen Heck the entire statement was printed on the back of the inauguration program.  Mayor Heck was one of the 48 Dream Team Members.



Voting on the walls

Day two included a brainstorming process to answer the question, “if this is your vision, what initiatives must we undertake to make this vision a reality?


Every idea was recorded for all to see and the day culminated with an opportunity for the community to vote to determine which of the hundreds of initiatives were the ones they felt most important to accomplish.


Those receiving the most votes were then sorted into categories and the categories were then prioritized.  There were 8 prioritized objectives.



remlogo (1)

These 8 prioritized community objectives are the focus of all of REM’s work to this day.

Every Community initiative in REM is organized under one of these objectives.

(Note that the REM Logo has eight hands.  Logo designer, Lisa Wheeler, created the logo prior to the Community Catalyst Process...which causes us to consider that she may be psychic!)

Community Objectives

1. Develop a Vibrant Economy

2. Excel in Education

3. Protect Human Potential

4. Promote Arts and Entertainment

5. Beautify the Environment

6. Empower Young People

7. Build Community

              8. Expand Fitness and Recreation


Under each priority the following initiatives were decided upon.



Objectives are listed in order of priority.

Within each Objective, Initiatives are listed in order of priority. 


  • Make sure everyone in the community has a job
  • Develop a marketing strategy to attract business
  • Solicit new employers who will bring in jobs at all levels
  • Combine all regional economic development organizations
  • Organize meeting with all economic development groups
  • Streamline permit process for business startup and expansion
  • Use personal networking to expand business opportunities



  • Make Colby and Thomas Colleges more a part of the area
  • Get Colby and Thomas Colleges more involved with the community
  • Make better use of college faculties for community development
  • Have KV Tech become more a part of the community
  • Network by computer all regional resources
  • Coordinate adult education & workforce training for lifelong learning
  • Expand alternative educational opportunities
  • Establish a year-round elder hostel program in the region
  • Create partnerships between schools and businesses
  • Create summer intern jobs for area high school students
  • Develop mentoring programs



  • Create a climate free of violence and oppression
  • Eliminate child abuse and neglect
  • Provide affordable health care for all residents
  • Eliminate teen pregnancy, suicide
  • Provide prenatal care for all pregnant women
  • Have preschool programs available for all children
  • Provide low cost child care system for single parents
  • Establish a regional human service planning council
  • Provide for change & growth through conflict resolution for all people
  • Develop system of ongoing parent and family education
  • Develop trained volunteers to assist people in crisis
  • Upgrade low-income housing



  • Have a street festival
  • Establish a regional coordinating committee for local events
  • Expand cultural events in downtown Waterville
  • Make 4th July/Memorial Day amazing spectacles/public parades
  • Develop summer program on arts and culture
  • Create winter carnival program
  • Promote jazz festival as a New England-wide event
  • Have affordable entertainment
  • Create and keep a world-renowned school of ballet
  • Move opera house marquee so Main Street travelers can see it


  • Beautify the concourse
  • Line the streets with lots of trees
  • Plant flowers entire length of main streets in alltowns
  • Landscape the Kennebec River Water Project
  • Have youths participate in restoration of 2-cent bridge
  • Paint a mural on Kimberly Clark depicting history of Waterville


  • Establish a coffee house for youth to hang out
  • Create seats on governing board for youth representatives
  • Create a community youth council for liaison between government and youth
  • Establish a regional youth government council to work with municipalities
  • Create a regional recreational organization for teens in all towns
  • Build upon existing youth agencies
  • Put organizations that provide recreation for youth together
  • Develop community outreach program from each of the youth agencies




  • Create inter-community council to address specific issues
  • Take spirit and vision of this weekend out into our communities
  • Create monthly REM forums to get together
  • Design promotional material that expresses our vision
  • Develop measurable indicators of progress in our vision
  • Reward and acknowledge good citizen efforts publicly every week
  • Develop a self-renewing way to keep the vision process going
  • Have community suppers to keep this enthusiasm going
  • Establish regular forums for the community
  • Hold a national convention for community building tools in Waterville
  • Learn to think beyond our town lines


  • Promote play areas for all children in all seasons
  • Make sure the "Inside-Out" playground stays open
  • Make sure "Inside-Out" playground survives and belongs to the community
  • Develop regional bicycle /cross country ski trails 15-50 miles long
  • Put in bike trails
  • Create bike route on the West River Road to link Waterville & Augusta
  • Complete the walking/ running path between Waterville, Fairfield, etc.
  • Have a free public lake front with free access to beach/ recreation area
  • Create a waterfront park with interesting architecture like the Tivoli, etc.
  • Have a year-round wilderness outing club for everyone
  • Establish life-long wellness programs
  • Re-open the old Colby ski hill, run by the community
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