LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After it was announced more than 200 jobs would be leaving the Lewiston-Auburn area last week, officials in the twin cities are now working on a regional economic development strategy to bring more jobs to the area.
Last Tuesday, Geiger Brothers in Lewiston announced it was laying off 75 employees and shutting down its manufacturing division after demand for its products has gone down recent years.
Last Thursday, Beam Incorporated also announced it would be eliminating 160 jobs and phasing out production at its Lewiston plant over the next year.
City officials in Lewiston-Auburn have been working on a regional economic development strategy to further develop both downtowns and bring more jobs to the area. With the recent announcements of 200 jobs that are leaving the area over the next year, city officials say adapting to a changing economy will be a key part of the focus going forward.
"We have a history of showing the state and the country that we can react to these kinds of dislocations and find ways to get past them and move forward and continue to create the jobs here we need to employ our people," Lewiston City Administrator Edward Barrett said.
A big part of the economic development strategy going forward is Lewiston's Riverfront Island Master Plan, a plan designed to further develop the downtown mill district and bring more jobs to the area.
Barrett said Beam officials have also showed an interest in potentially selling its Lewiston facility, and the city hopes it will be able to keep the plant in operation.
As economic development opportunities are being discussed, city councils in Lewiston-Auburn scheduled a joint workshop at Auburn City Hall Monday night to discuss and brainstorm development opportunities. Similar workshops are also being planned for the future.