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  • Voting is closed. Thanks everyone for participating.

    We’ll be announcing the winners on October 3rd.

    Proposals on the ballot are:

    Community voting runs from Thursday, September 15th through Thursday, September 22nd. Vote here or via paper ballots at City Hall and in the Rockland Public Library. Rockland residents age 12 and up may cast one ballot each, voting for one proposal in the $10k category, and 4 proposals in the $5k category.

    Full project descriptions below:

    Rockland Community Fruit Trees

    Planting fruit and nut trees for public access and community harvest to fight food insecurity and hunger. Proposed by Rui Nakata.

    Rockland Community Fruit Trees will provide free fruit and nuts for Rockland residents who want to go pick their own food while also being a community space for anyone who wants to get together to maintain the trees. The space will be open to anyone to enjoy without any sort of barrier to entry. With proper signage in place, residents can walk under the fruit trees and learn about the various edible plants that can grow in this climate, have picnics under them, and enjoy the bounty during harvest season. The great thing about this project is that trees require less maintenance than annuals and the return on investment is huge. One tree purchased for $30 can provide pounds of fruit for years to come! Residents can care for these trees and be reciprocated by them in the form of free food while simultaneously feeling a sense of collective pride. A similar project has been the inspiration for this project ( I’ve noticed that there is a big divide between people in Rockland: the people who are experiencing food insecurity who cannot afford fresh produce, and the people who are health conscious and eat only organic farm fresh produce. Since moving here last summer and living in north Rockland, I’ve gotten to know my neighbors and have befriended people in both camps. I’d love for the Rockland Community Fruit Trees project to become a bridge between this cultural divide through the volunteer days which will be kid friendly and a fun way for the residents to get to know one another. It’ll also give elders an opportunity to share their knowledge with the youth in the community about horticulture and gardening which a lot of residents are passionate about. Volunteer days will be organized around tasks such as tree planting, mulching, composting, pruning, and putting up educational signage. There will be lots of opportunities to bring out the naturalists and artists that reside in our community to make this a beautiful space. The trees can either be dispersed throughout the city where there’s heavy foot traffic or concentrated in a dedicated food forest space. The format will depend on what available planting space we can secure. We will also plant some pollinator friendly plants under or around the trees and if budget allows, have some picnic benches for people to stop and enjoy the trees. Trees will be selected for disease and pest resistance and cold hardiness. Some examples of trees that will do well in our zone are apple, pear, cherry, peach, and quince trees. I am not associated with a nonprofit so the city would have to monitor the finances in some way. However, I’ll take charge in organizing the volunteer days, submitting spending proposals, making orders for trees and tools, and getting the word out to the community. I’d also like to get a group of individuals to share the responsibility of planning and organizing this project by creating a committee. Fall/Winter of 2022 will be focused on securing a location and ordering the trees. Volunteer days will start in spring of 2023, first focused on planting and mulching and then transitioning to watering and pruning. The great thing is, most of the cost for starting this project is upfront cost. It’ll be ideal if we can keep planting new trees but if we can’t, we will still have plenty of fruit trees planted that will feed us in the future.

    Support the work of Trekkers

    to offer youth leadership training through outdoor, experiential and travel-based education and mentoring. Proposed by Trekkers.

    The student leadership program is offered to students when they enter eleventh grade. The students go through the leadership program and get a chance to learn more about the behind the scenes process of Trekkers. While on expeditions, Trekkers tries to encourage living in the moment, and encourages the students not to worry too much about logistics or what we will be doing next. However, once in the student leadership program it is like the curtain is dropped, and the student leaders get the opportunity to see the rationale behind the choices the leadership and staff makes, and the intentional efforts put in to creating this unique environment for the students. The student leaders are also given the opportunity to reflect on their own strengths and personality, and are taught leadership skills. After they complete the leadership training, the student leaders go on the younger classes expeditions. They are given more responsibility throughout the expedition process, and get a chance to become mentors to their younger peers. Moreover, the leadership program helps them learn how to make connections with others that go beyond everyday surface level conversations. This program not only benefits the student leaders, but the younger students as well. It is amazing to have adults in your life care about you and try to provide support, but having an older peer put in the effort to get to know you and support you can be even more meaningful, and gives the students peer role models that they can look up to, while also creating deeper connections with those peers. These skills and connections have become even more essential in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic was extremely isolating, school was online, and it was not safe to see friends or family. We know that the pandemic has had a negative effect on the mental health of young people. We know that this can also cause an increase in risky behavior due to mental health. But according to the Mitchel Institute, mentored students are 46% less likely than their at-risk peers to begin using drugs, 55% more likely to enroll in college and 78% more likely to become engaged community volunteers; making Trekkers and the support it provides more critical than ever. The pandemic has created an underlying fear among many people, young people arguably most of all, as they are trying to navigate the new world since Covid during their most formative and influential years. Trekkers is an experience based program, because new experiences are a great way to expand horizons and encourage students to try new things. But during the pandemic these experiences had to pause. And then when the program started up again, there were numerous regulations and guidelines that had to be followed to ensure safety, such as mask wearing. Operating outside of their normal routines seemed harder than in years past, and it was harder to forge peer connections due to limited opportunity to do so. Helping students foster their inherent strengths, leadership ability, and confidence, is immensely beneficial to the students trying to navigate this new world. Moreover, the peer connections between the student leadership and the students is even more critical to encourage community and socialization. Therefore Trekkers is prioritizing the student leadership program.

    Support the work of the Restorative Justice Project Maine

    in the Knox County Community Justice Hub to implement strategies for improving community safety and belonging while reducing substance-use related crimes. Proposed by Restorative Justice Project Maine.

    The Knox Community Justice Hub, based in Rockland, launched in 2021 to work on reducing crime and enhancing our community’s safety. After completing training with RJP in restorative principles, we turned our focus to the available data on crime, safety, and belonging in our community. We needed to know which crimes are the most common in our community before we could work on reducing their occurrence. Violations of bail or probation conditions and substance-use related arrests are the top two reasons that people entered the Knox County criminal justice system between 2018 – 2020, and over a third of these people were between the ages of 25 – 34. As these friends and neighbors become entangled in the criminal justice system, they can no longer contribute their unique gifts to our beloved city of Rockland, and our community becomes fractured. This summer, the Knox Community Justice Hub is poised to identify and enact strategies to reduce the top crimes that funnel hundreds of members of our community into the courthouse in Rockland each year. We focus on crime, belonging, and safety because the members of our community who face arrest or prosecution are often the most vulnerable among us, and those with the least resources available to withstand a pandemic. Challenges with substance use often co-occur with mental health challenges and economic instability and the Knox Community Justice Hub seeks to address all three through community-based strategies rooted in restorative practices. We believe that practicing restorative justice in our community will make Rockland a safer, more connected place where everyone believes that they matter. This hub evolved out of RJP’s work in the midcoast with the intention to empower the community to design, determine, and implement the strategies needed to make Rockland a safer, more connected place where all feel like they can belong and contribute to community life. RJP continues to support the Hub by providing coordination and implementation support for Hub activities, as well as its associated Steering Team comprised of community volunteers. Among us are diverse community voices and perspectives, including people in recovery and people negatively impacted by the criminal justice system. Our backgrounds include social services, recovery support, law enforcement, education, community organizing, and the arts. We will use these funds to implement strategies for improving community safety and belonging while reducing substance-use-related crimes. Our funding needs will primarily be organizational: gathering resources, distributing information, and connecting people.

    Winter heating assistance funds for residents in need

    Proposed by Ian Emmott & Rob Somerville.

    Provide money for Rockland residents who are unable to pay for heating fuels during the winter of 2022-23. Can be administered by the city or an existing assistance agency.

    Maintenance and upgrades for the Friends House residence

    of the Midcoast Recovery Coalition. Proposed by Midcoast Recovery Coalition.

    The “Friends House”, established in 2018, is a recovery residence for men who are highly motivated to make progress in their recovery. Each resident comes from different settings including directly from the community, from the hospital, detox facilities, rehab or corrections settings such as Maine State Prison or the Knox County Jail. The grant proceeds will be used for sorely needed painting, carpentry and plumbing repairs, as well as for appliance and fixture upgrades.

    Support the work of Out Maine

    by funding local trainings for community provider professionals on Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ youth. Proposed by OUT Maine.

    Who? Help LGBTQ+ Youth in Rockland thrive! Why? The 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) indicates that 20% of Maine’s teens identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or are “not sure” of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Maine’s (LGBTQ) youth are at very high risk: 8 out of 10 bullied regularly in schools* 3X to 4X the suicide rate of heterosexual peers** 3X as likely to feel sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in the past year** 25-40% of Maine homeless teens are LGBTQ*** More than doubly likely to experience domestic violence at home** High risk of substance abuse (twice the usage of heterosexual teens of heroin, cocaine, and inhalants)** More than 3X the rate of forced sexual contact than heterosexual students** *GLSEN National School Climate Survey, 2019; ** Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, 2019; *** Human Rights Campaign. OUT Maine has a four-pronged approach to make communities more welcoming and affirming to LGBTQ+ youth. Each of the prongs targets a key element in rural communities that has a direct effect on youth: Building youth capacity and self-esteem through direct youth programs; Improving school climate through staff training, policy and procedural improvements and building/supporting Gay-Straight-Trans Alliances (GSTAs), which have been shown to reduce bullying and harassment for ALL students by 50% if in place in a school for 3+ years. Weaving a safety net of informed community providers – health/mental health providers, clergy, schools, and youth-serving organizations – through training to build competence for providing safety/affirmation and mitigating the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Supporting parents/families to keep LGBTQ+ youth at home to reduce homelessness (25- 40% of Maine’s homeless teens are LGBTQ+). What? With the City of Rockland’s support, OUT Maine could help Rockland weave a safety net of trained professionals who will be able to provide safe and affirming services to LGBTQ+ youth. OUT Maine will provide 2 half-day training on Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ youth (up to 40 participants each). Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of LGBTQ+ identities, risk and protective factors, the importance of language adolescent development, intervening on harmful behavior, and creating inclusive environments. Participants will receive materials and resources that they can use and display in their offices and workplaces. This training will be free to professionals in the Rockland community.

    Supply backpacks filled with immediate need items for people experiencing crisis

    to be distributed by Knox County Homeless Coalition. Proposed by Kali Asplund.

    Rockland, along with the rest of the county, has a growing problem with community needs. We are seeing increases in substance use disorder / opioid use disorder, homelessness, and mental health crises. While local agencies work tirelessly to support the need, there are times where the immediate needs are not met. My proposal is the creation of SOC (save our community) packs. Funding would cover backpacks of needed items. Such items could include, depending on need (items include but are not limited to): Prepaid phones, phone cards, gas cards, battery packs (for charging), narcan packs, food (shelf stable), tents, blankets, bus ticket fare, tablets, small luggage, etc. These items are identified as possibly being useful for those in need, and for public health concerns of: Housing insecure/houselessness, SUD/OUD, food insecure, mental health concerns/crisis, CPS/DHHS involvement, re-entry post incarceration. When the Knox County Homeless Coalition is contacted by an individual or if they identify a person in need and tangible items are not available internally, they would be able to access such items. Ideally, these items and operations could be discussed amongst local providers during meetings such as: Providers meetings or the Knox County Recovery Collaborative. Long term goals for sustainability: When those in need receive these items, they would also receive contact numbers to get connected to other local resources. This program wouldn’t be means to an end, but a way to bridge a temporary gap in need. This could also be a way to further strengthen collaboration efforts between agencies and providers. Examples of situations where this could be utilized: Someone experiencing re-entry in need of a phone and phone card, and camping supplies. Children involved with CPS in need of luggage in an emergency situation. Someone who’s homeless and sleeping in their car runs out of gas. While this is a shortlist of examples, any identified need could access this program. This could help strengthen community relationships, and show a united front amongst local resources and agencies as we come together to help this triad of public health concerns.

    Improving and maintaining Rockland sidewalks

    and increasing ADA accessibility. Proposed by Riley Newton & Kenneth Rinehart.

    Make sidewalks more handicap accessible, improving the sidewalks all over town, and adding sidewalks where they are needed.

    Support the work of The Landing Place

    in serving youth at high risk of experiencing unstable housing, food insecurity, and other adversity. Proposed by The Landing Place.

    The Landing Place serves our youth who are going through trauma and other adversity. The Landing Place provides practical and compassionate help to youth in need. The Landing Place needs meals, clothing, blankets, toiletries, social workers, the list goes on and on.

    Support design and planning of the skate park

    portion of the Rockland Area Multiuse Park (RAMP). Proposed by Amanda Downer.

    RAMP stands for Rockland Area Multiuse Park. Our mission is to create a recreational opportunity for Rockland area youth and adults. We intend to create an outdoor space that empowers local youth to be active and confident while building social skills and relationships, and to serve as an avenue to various opportunities. This would be a space where youth can ride bikes, both mountain and bmx, skateboard, roller skate, scooter, and more. The pandemic had a significant effect on the youth of our community, as they missed critical schooling and social skill-building time and connections. In addition, the financial fallout for families (including the current affordable housing crisis) has been an additional profound struggle, on top of common hardships before the pandemic occurred. Behavior problems in our middle and high schools appear to be at a peak. Youth roaming the streets and engaging in problematic behaviors has also been a concern in our area. Our youth would unquestionably benefit from having a place to go be social and/or learn new skills, and gain inspiration. The RAMP would draw out constructive, focused mindsets, build confidence, and bring people together in a mutually beneficial way. This outdoor space will be carefully thought out and crafted with the community as a whole in mind, working closely and in confidence with the city, local authorities and organizations.

    Support the construction of the ALL ABOARD Inclusive Playground

    for children and adults of all abilities at MacDougal Park. Proposed by the Rockland Rotary Club.

    Rotary is proud to be readying for its 100th anniversary year of providing service to the community of Rockland Maine. To celebrate this occasion, the RR Club has set its sights on one large community addition that will be a service to all individuals, of all ages, of all types of strengths and challenges, within the city and other mid-coast communities. This will be the ALL ABOARD Inclusive Playground, located in the heart of the city of Rockland. INCLUSIVITY is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups. This translates in playground terms, to removing physical, sensory and social barriers. It provides for multigenerational opportunities that encourage active, independent and meaningful play for everyone! That benefits each individual in feeling included, smart, and safe during active play. No one wants to be felt left out! The ALL ABOARD PLAYGROUND will provide the right level of challenge and opportunity for the citizens of Rockland, Maine, regardless of their developmental level intellectually, physically, or emotionally. There are NO inclusive playgrounds within a 70 mile radius of the city of Rockland.

    Support the creation of the Waterfront to Wilderness Trail

    by the Georges River Land Trust, Sidecountry Trails, and the City of Rockland. Proposed by the Georges River Land Trust.

    The Waterfront to Wilderness Trail is a vision created by members of the Rockland Parks & Recreation Department as well as community members, intended to provide non-motorized trail access to connect the citizens of Rockland to the lesser known natural resources within the city such as the Oyster River Bog and the Rockland Town Forest from downtown Rockland. The first phase of the project focused on the western stretch of trail, beginning on Bog Road and ending on a natural ledge showing one of the best views of the bog. This 517 acre wetland is host to rare plant and animal species, filters the water we drink, serves us in flood mitigation and is a vital carbon sink in the struggle against climate change. Following the COVID pandemic, it also offers a vital resource to Rockland and surrounding communities as an accessible location to connect with nature, relieve stress, and have fun. In 2021 the Waterfront to Wilderness Committee in collaboration with the Georges River Land Trust (GRLT) and Sidecountry Trails (SCT) began planning efforts to design and permit the initial trail corridor for the Bog Overlook trail segment. GRLT and SCT, including volunteers from the Midcoast Maine chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (McNEMBA) and students from the Midcoast School of Technology began construction of the first trail segment. The Rockland Public Works department transported donated material from Dragon Cement to construct the parking lot, which has been used several times by the Committee for planning, MCNEMBA volunteers for trail construction days and Georges River’s staff and volunteers, who target invasive species to create healthier forests in our watershed. A recent meeting involved over 6 different local groups who came to see the trail, cementing the vision as a community project with great drive behind it. The Georges River Land Trust has provided stewardship and trail maintenance services in the Rockland Town Forest for over two decades, both as part of our conservation mission, as well as our ongoing goal to connect community forests in Thomaston, Rockland and beyond. Using partnerships with SCT, McNEMBA, and other volunteer groups, with investments from the Town of Thomaston, we have successfully reconnected many residents of all ages and especially families to the outdoors. We feel that those efforts have provided a great return on Thomaston’s investment in community wellness and vibrancy in terms of environmental, physical, and economic health. The Waterfront to Wilderness Trail vision is one we are enthusiastic about supporting as well. We intend on measuring the success of this project based on community and partner engagement rather than establishing a specific mileage goal. This concept worked well in neighboring communities and resulted in cultivating a volunteer ethic with neighbors working together to steward the trails based on collective resources and responsibility. Our intent is to use this funding to continue construction of the Bog Overlook Trail and trail loop extensions on the Bog Road parcel, as well as planning and possible corridor clearing of the next section of trail over Dodge Mountain in partnership with SCT, MCNEMBA and Midcoast School of technology. This will include trail scouting when snow allows in the winter, assessment of streams in spring for bridge construction, with the majority of summer being dedicated to the specific path of the trail, switchbacks and possible loops.

    Support and expand the free youth sailing programs

    at the Apprenticeshop. Proposed by The Apprenticeshop.

    Rockland is a city built on economic and cultural connections to the water — ship building, fishing, and seafaring — have deep roots in this place. Thus, all of Rockland’s youth should have the opportunity to connect with their history through their hometown harbor and to build their own new relationships to the sea. The Apprenticeshop, perched off of Main Street with a pier extending into Rockland Harbor, is poised to be the link between our rich maritime history and a vibrant future for Rockland. With this grant, The Apprenticeshop will address the negative impacts of pandemic restrictions by offering free hands-on sailing programs to Rockland youth ages 6-17 regardless of previous experience. At the Apprenticeshop traditional wooden boatbuilding and seamanship are the platform for personal and community growth. We believe that a strong community is built by individuals working through challenges together towards common goals. As we strive to rebuild connections after two years of remote learning, The Apprenticeshop offers a breath of fresh (sea) air through hands-on learning. At The Apprenticeshop, we engage — with the natural world (wood, water, wind) and with each other. We build boats and sail together. All our programs push people to see what they are capable of, and to build resilience, self-confidence, and resourcefulness in the process. From September 2022 through August 2023, The Apprenticeshop will offer free programming for Rockland youth in all of our sailing programs including: a) Fall and Spring High School Sailing; b) Fall Middle School Sailing; and c) Summer Sailing Camp. All participants will be given the unique opportunity to develop self-confidence and sailing skills in a fun and supportive environment right here on their hometown harbor. Participants do not need to have any previous experience on boats yet they will be given the support and autonomy to captain and crew within the first few days. Our youth hold our future — the future of Rockland Harbor, the future of traditional craft, the future of seamanship and maritime trades. How else will the head, hands and heart of our youth steward these important aspects of our community and history if we do not cultivate familiarity and passion today. Giving free access to the incredible shared resource of Rockland Harbor through
    Apprenticeshop is an important step in connecting our youth with the potential of a lifetime connected to the water. Whether rowing or sailing, for fun or competition, The Apprenticeshop has the staff, boats, pier and a deep desire to share!

    Support the work of The Coastal Children’s Museum

    to offer environmental and marine science-related activities for local children. Proposed by The Coastal Children’s Museum.

    The Coastal Children’s Museum has been a vital part of the Midcoast community’s efforts to provide safe spaces for children and families to learn and play together since 2009. The museum has always operated year-round. Currently the museum is suffering a significant loss in patrons due to the continuing pandemic. We work hard to offer environmental and marine science-related activities for our local youth and strive to educate as many children as possible. This summer, we hosted our local elementary school, RSU 13’s South School, as part of their summer camp program for our second year. Our goal is to provide new and exciting ways for youth and their families to become involved with environmental education. Admission and donations are the two major sources of income for the museum. Before the pandemic, the museum reached over 9,000 visitors annually, and there have now been less than 3,500 visitors this year, a significant reduction. The museum is vital to the education and enrichment of local youth, and as we move forward, we are asking for your help. We have been able to produce 30 interactive, hands-on exhibits and educational programming.

    Rockland Rebound puts $30K in your hands to improve your city

    Rockland Rebound is a new effort that asks the citizens of Rockland to propose and vote on how to spend $30,000 of ARPA funds to benefit our community.

    The federal government has allocated the city of Rockland over $700,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which the City Council has used to bolster our fire department, storm water system, and public infrastructure.

    Now it’s your turn to decide how Rockland spends its money.

    Who can participate?

    • Any Rockland resident aged 12 or older can submit a proposal. Residents under 18 need an adult cosponsor on their proposals.
    • Any group or organization located in Rockland can submit an proposal.
    • Any Rockland resident aged 12 or older can vote on the proposals.

    What kinds of proposals will be considered?

    ARPA funds are aimed specifically at COVID-19 relief — full guidelines here.

    Rockland Rebound is looking for proposals in these categories:

    • Projects to benefit senior citizens
    • Projects to benefit Rockland youth
    • Projects to improve public health
    • To benefit front-line workers or those most impacted by the pandemic

    How will the money be distributed?

    • One award for up to $10,000
    • Four awards for up to $5,000

    When are proposals due, and when do we vote?

    Proposals will be accepted from to July 15-August 15
    Candidates will be announced by August 31
    Voting will take place Sept 15-22
    Award winners will be announced on Oct. 3. 2022 at the Rockland City Council Meeting

    You can also pick up a paper submission form at the Rockland Public Library or City Clerk’s office at Rockland City Hall and submit your proposal to the City Clerk in person.

    For more on participatory budgeting in general, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

    If you have any questions, email