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Downtown Revitalization
Key Findings

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Executive Summary
A. Key Findings
B. Recommended Plan
1. Marketing
2. Management
3. Streetscape
4. Municipal Parking
5. Gateways
6. Town Common and Walking Park
7. Facade Improvements
8. Funding Sources
9. Implementation Plan

September 01

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  • The Oakland regional market area experienced good population growth between 1980 and 1990, gaining slightly more than 1,500 persons to be about 12,200. Since 1990 the population has increased much more moderately and is at an estimated 12,500 persons. Projections indicate that the population will hold stable over the next 5 years.

  • There is a very strong seasonal population in the Oakland area, capitalizing on the amenities of the surrounding lakes during the summer season. This population is estimated to be slightly greater than 4,000 persons, representing nearly a one-third increase over the year round population. As such, capturing the seasonal spending potential from these consumers can be very important to the retailers in the downtown.

  • On average, the median household income in the Oakland market area increased by about 20.0% from 1990 to 1999 (at $38,000). This is well above the median household income in Kennebec County, which is approximately $33,000.

  • The Oakland market area is part of the Waterville Labor Market Area. Unemployment in the LMA is slightly more than 5.0%, which while a little high compared to the national average is well below its near 8.0% level of 1995. Retail and service firms predominate the regional economy, accounting for two-thirds of business establishments and 70.0% of the employment. Average annual wages in these two sectors, at $14,000 and $20,000, respectively, are less than the LMA all-industry average of $23,800.

  • According to the 1990 Census there were 2,050 employees in the Oakland market area, of which 1,200, or about 60.0%, also lived in the Oakland market area.(3) As such, capturing sales from these daily commuters could also benefit businesses in the Oakland downtown commercial district. Also, as the Oakland FirstPark project becomes fully developed, an estimated 2,500 additional employees could become available to support downtown businesses.

  • The demand for a variety of retail goods and services in the Oakland market area has been estimated to be $48.2 million annually. Of this demand, approximately $21.6 million is being spent in stores outside the Oakland area.

    These "leaked" sales represent substantial opportunity for existing and new businesses to the Oakland downtown. Primary among the leaked sales is nearly $7.5 million in food away from home which would include sales potential for restaurants, drinking places, bakeries and ice cream shops to name a few.

    There is an estimated $2.4 million in leaked grocery store sales. While this is likely insufficient to attract another grocer to Main Street, it does represent significant potential for expansion (in size and product offerings) for existing grocers. Other substantial leaked sales, at slightly more than $3.7 million, include specialty retail such as bookstores and electronics (video shops, CD stores as examples).

  • In the downtown Oakland study area there are approximately 37 properties, situated on 15.06 acres of land. There is an estimated 80,000 square feet (SF) of ground floor space, while the estimated total square footage of development is 126,900.

  • There are 24 commercial properties on 9.85 acres of land with about 65,300 SF of ground floor development, indicating an estimated average storefront of 2,700 SF. Ground floor vacancy in these properties is estimated to equate to 8,540 square feet or about 13.0% of the commercial ground floor space in the commercial district.

  • Total commercial square footage is estimated to be 95,400 SF with an average assessment of $37.73 per SF. Total vacancy in these properties is estimated to be 19,900 square feet or about 21.0% of the total commercial inventory.

3. The 1990 Census is the most current data available for commuting patterns. However, if the ratio of 60.0% of the market area labor force is also a market area resident then 1999 employment estimates would indicate that almost 1,400 of the market area workers are also market area residents.



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