Wiscasset’s new economic development director shares his excitement, ideas
Wiscasset is pleased to announce the establishment of a pivotal role within our town management – the job of economic development director. This reflects the commitment of the town manager and selectboard to foster sustainable growth and prosperity in our community. They believe it is necessary to improve the business climate at the town office and build upon the momentum gained with the new senior housing project, the largest sweet shop in New England, the pharmacy, the possible redevelopment of the Mason Station properties, and other exciting opportunities.
The economic development director will play a crucial role in shaping and implementing strategies to stimulate economic vitality, attract investment, and promote job creation. This position underscores our dedication to supporting local businesses, attracting new business and industry, and enhancing our overall economic landscape. The town will maintain its current contract with Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission for a part-time planner who will work closely with the economic development director and the code enforcement officer (CEO) to assist in land use, permitting, and other regulatory requirements to ensure a smooth process.
The town advertised nationally for the director and received 30 resumes. A committee consisting of selectmen Sarah Whitfield and William “Bill” Maloney, Town Manager Dennis Simmons, and LCRPC Director Mary Ellen Barnes reviewed all the resumes and chose four professionals for interviews. Three were invited back for a second interview to make a presentation to the committee about how they would work to persuade a business to locate in Wiscasset. The finalist from that presentation was interviewed for a third time by Simmons, realtor Sherri Dunbar, and local businessman Al Cohen. From this process, the committee approved Simmons’ recommendation to bring Aaron Chrostowsky on board.
The search committee was impressed withChrostowsky's experience and presentation. He had the necessary experience to do the job, and he demonstrated a strong commitment toward the assignment for the second interview by doing the necessary research to attract a new business to Wiscasset.
Chrostowsky met with several business leaders to discuss his economic development philosophy and the town's current business environment. He heard from Dunbar and Cohen about the need to make the town more business-friendly to attract new businesses and to allow existing businesses to grow in Wiscasset to lessen the tax burden on taxpayers.
Chrostowsky said, “I am really excited about this opportunity. I spent nearly 20 years managing small local governments in Northern New England. I served in the following communities: Town Manager, Wayne (2013-2023); town manager, Clinton (2010-2012); and town administrator, Shaftsbury, Vermont (2004-2009). Being a small-town manager is a true generalist position, you have to wear many hats. I have been road commissioner, general assistance administrator, health officer, treasurer, tax collector, and acting code enforcement Officer.
“After close to 11 years in Wayne, it was time for a change. When I saw this position open, I became excited about this opportunity because planning and economic development are why I entered the field of local government management. However, when managing small communities, you don't get a lot of opportunities to practice economic development because of all your other responsibilities. This position will allow me to work on my passion and expand a new skill set. Over the last two decades as a manager, I have written many grants, advocated for the communities I served in, managed many projects, written policies and ordinances, and worked closely with various constituencies.
“I can't wait to get started and begin meeting small (business) owners, residents, and community leaders to learn more about Wiscasset. I think Wiscasset has a lot to offer – a vibrant downtown, historic village, access to a deep-water port, municipal airport, rail access, and highway access. I think the strongest asset Wiscasset has is an engaged community. The top priorities are to create an economic development committee and write an ED Plan; begin working with the owner of the Mason Point property to find the highest and best use of the property; and consider developing a new Old Ferry Business Park with improved water access.
“Besides my practical work experience as a local government manager, I graduated from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor of science in political science in 2000 and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a master's degree in public administration and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems in 2003.
“When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. Areas of interest are spending time outside, day-tripping, watching sports including my beloved UCONN Huskies, and reading. I live in Winthrop now; however, I will be looking to move to the Midcoast region in the late winter/early spring.”
He grew up in Connecticut where his parents still reside and where he regularly travels to visit.