University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dana Gartzke recently visited Walpole, Maine, for a tour of the Darling Marine Center (DMC), a waterfront infrastructure improvement project that began earlier this year.

One business owner's unique, outside-the-box, thinking is driving a new business venture in downtown Skowhegan, Maine, that, in collaboration with other businesses, promises positive outcomes for the town and surrounding areas in the coming years. Maine Grains, housed at the former Somerset County Jail at 42 Court St., announced earlier in October that Amber Lambke, CEO and co-owner, is leading a new real estate company, Land & Furrow LLC, and has purchased the former Kennebec Valley Inn property in downtown Skowhegan from the Somerset Economic Development Corp.

Despite the unprecedented economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine's construction industry has continued with little disruption, as demand has not waned for work on long-delayed projects. With fewer cars on the road and fewer students in classrooms, it has given local contractors a chance to tackle highway and school repair jobs, according to Matt Marks, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Maine, in an interview with The Center Square earlier in October.

Administrators in the University of Maine System on Oct. 7 lauded a $240 million gift that is among the largest ever in public institutes of higher education and will be used for systemwide investments in facilities, academics and athletics. Much of the funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation, one of the state's leading philanthropic organizations, will be spent on the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland.

Canyon Springs Landscaping is a veteran-owned and family-operated landscaping firm that is on the move. The company, which serves central and southern Maine, has a portfolio that includes hardscape — patios, walkways, retaining walls, stone veneer and outdoor kitchens — snow removal, light excavation work, and water projects, including ponds, waterfalls, stream creation and fountains.

The National Park Service (NPS) is poised to start the second phase of construction of its Acadia Gateway Center, on Route 3 in Trenton, Maine, due to a $9 million infusion of cash from the federal government. Phase One of the center, completed in 2012, was a bus maintenance facility, park-and-ride lot, propane fueling station, access road and administrative offices for Downeast Transportation, the nonprofit operator of the Island Explorer shuttle bus system and countywide transit systems.

Portland, Maine's Back Cove is a popular place to run, walk, bike, or lately, to check out the construction project there. The massive building under way by the Preble Street Extension and soccer fields is dubbed the Back Cove South Storage Facility.

The new $75 million Morse High School in Bath, Maine, remains on budget and scheduled for completion this December, with the grand opening slated for February 2021. The new school – which will encompass nearly 190,000 sq. ft. – will replace the century-old Morse High School.

Pleasant Hill Property Services, located in the foothills of western Maine, specializes in working on high-end lakefront properties in environmentally sensitive areas. Owner Jason Shiers uses Avant compact loaders, purchased through Northland JCB, to help him achieve results that make customers happy.

Dump truck drivers will be busy in the coming months on a bridge project in Hampden, Maine. Their task: hauling 160,000 cu. yds. of fill material for the replacement of eight bridges and repair of one on I-95 just south of Bangor. That's more even than was required for the construction of the state's signature Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

Barko Hydraulics (Barko) announced the addition of Heavy Machines Inc. (Heavy Machines) as the new Barko forestry equipment dealer of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. As a diversified equipment distributor serving several regions throughout the United States, Heavy Machines has two branch locations in Maine, located in Portland and Skowhegan, to serve customers in the northeastern United States.