BELFAST – The city of Belfast is booming even on a gloomy day.
Shops and businesses line the downtown area, a stark contrast to the old Belfast.
“We were the poultry capital of the word here,” says Breanna Bebb, Executive Director of Our Town Belfast. “Empty store fronts were pretty common.”
The store fronts now have plenty of open signs in the windows and plenty of shoppers passing through, but these aren’t the only spots people are enjoying.
“Beautiful parks, beautiful waterfront, it’s a nice mix of things that people want to see,” says Bebb.
Others are drawn to its waterfront and Harbor-Walk, which not only provides scenic views of ships and lobster pots bobbing in the water, but also serves as a hub for business.
A brief stroll down the Harbor-Walk and you will pass through the Front Street Shipyard.
“It makes it sort of a destination point,” says J.B. Turner, President of the Front Street Shipyard. “People don’t often get the opportunity any where in the world to walk through a shipyard.”
Turner has run the yard since it’s beginning in April 2011.
He feels it has also added an economic boost to the area.
“There’s a lot more people in the city buying things,” says Turner. “Whether it’s lunch for our crew or it’s shopping for owners, or the captains and crews.”
The Front Street Shipyard will soon begin construction on a sixth building large enough to fit a boat travel lift.
The city of Belfast is currently undergoing construction on Front Street already, which could provide difficult for the shipyard.
“That’s probably going to add another layer of complications, but I’m sure we’ll work through it,” says Turner. “They work with us everyday telling us what they are planning to do, we tell them what we are planning to do and between the two, we’ve been able to work it out really well.”
Similar to a city who has worked through its humble beginnings, to become a thriving community.
“Belfast has kept a lot of the character that makes it a real authentic Maine community,” says Breanna Bebb.