To the Editor:
Great employees make the difference in the success of any institution. Whether it’s a local hotel or a local cutting–edge scientific research facility, the employees make it happen. Hard–working employees deserve reasonable housing opportunities for themselves and/or their families. As obvious as that seems, it’s a real challenge without easy solutions. The demand for the limited supply of housing on our island is greater each year. The severe housing shortage has forced many employers, both large and small, to invest substantial resources in order to meet their needs.
The Jackson Lab is one employer that is thinking creatively about providing for its workforce. It has proposed a workforce housing project that would make available affordable housing, close to work, for dozens of Jackson Lab employees and their families. The proposal increases the opportunity for even more of their employees to live in Bar Harbor year–round, providing both direct and indirect benefits to our local economy and community. We all know our neighborhoods are diminishing more and more each year. This proposal is a rare step in the other direction.
Additionally, as a dad, I understand the importance of quality child care and the amazing services our local YMCA provides. As the lab is committing to increase affordable housing, it is also collaborating with MDI’s YMCA and Down East Family YMCA to expand the physical capacity of the early age child–care program and will provide quality child care, close to home, for more than 60 additional kids. This will make a vital resource for our community even better.
Having more year-round housing and increased child care available for working families will enhance the opportunities for people who want to call Bar Harbor their home. That year-round stability is essential for the vibrancy of this community, and I applaud Jackson Lab for taking this approach. I look forward to seeing this project move forward.