Services and Programs
Our actions are ‘Business-Friendly.’ The City of Saco works to maintain an environment and processes that are responsive to the needs of the businesses and entrepreneurs in Saco, as well as those looking to establish, expand, or relocate new businesses in Saco. We seek to ensure they have access to the resources and infrastructure to successfully operate in highly competitive and often global markets.
Our role is to assist businesses through the development approval process(es) within the City of Saco and coordinate their contact depending upon the size and nature of each opportunity. This may include input from various departments, boards or commissions, and the City Council as part of the development approval process. We provide the same services at the state and federal level and with our utility partners.
One of the primary goals of Saco's Economic Development is to maintain and enhance the economic viability of Saco. This goal is implemented through many different policies and programs. Saco has a multifaceted approach to business retention and attraction that has been designed to preserve and enhance the city's business environment. The city recognizes the value and importance of a strong and varied business community.
We have a great partnership with the Biddeford+Saco Chamber of Commerce, the City of Biddeford and other surrounding communities, as well as the Biddeford Saco Economic Development Corporation (BSAEDC) and other local and state economic development associations, to help connect businesses with the resources they need to be successful.
Saco’s professional economic development staff collaborate with businesses expanding or locating in the city. Our staff works with businesses that are expanding and relocating to find appropriate sites, buildings or lease space that will meet their unique needs. Promoting business expansion takes many forms, including assisting with state and local permits, helping to secure business financing, and aiding with infrastructure requirements.
The City of Saco has been designated by the state of Maine as a Certified Business Friendly Community in recognition of its longstanding efforts to promote business and job growth and economic diversification. Saco has replaced a twentieth century, mill-based economy with a twenty-first century approach to the support and development of knowledge businesses and agile manufacturing. Our focus has been on the construction and marketing of industrial and business parks, promotion of redevelopment of the downtown and mill district, and the support of businesses through assistance with financing.
The City’s Economic Development Commission has worked closely with city staff on the development, construction and marketing of industrial and business parks. This process began in the late 1970s and has continued. The Saco Industrial Park, Spring Hill Park, and Mill Brook Business Park are now home to over 100 diverse businesses and near 2,000 quality jobs. Covenants regulate the appearance of buildings and protect business owners, in an effort to create and enhance the harmony and ambiance of both the structures and the businesses located within the City’s industrial and business zones.
The City has utilized many state and federal economic development programs, including tax incrementing financing districts (TIFs), both for infrastructure improvements and credit enhancements, federal EDA grants to assist with industrial/business park construction, and state grant funds to help with a portion of Main Street’s rehabilitation.