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The Paul J. Schupf Art Center opened in downtown Waterville on Saturday.

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Colby College
A rendering of the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.

About seven years ago stakeholders in Waterville came together to develop a plan to revitalize the city. On Saturday a key piece of that plan, the $18 million dollar Paul J. Schupf Art Center, opened downtown.

Colby College President David Greene says having a diversified economy as well as a place where people want to live, work and visit is part of the vision for the city's transformation.

"The arts are a part of that. They're not the only part, but a critical component of all of these efforts to make Waterville a great place to live and work and where new businesses want to locate and be successful over time," Greene said.

Greene says buildings Colby bought on Main Street years ago have been developed into an arts collaborative for students, scholars and artists. He says those businesses and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center together will generate $500,000 in tax revenue for Waterville each year.

Two hundred million dollars is being invested in Waterville's revitalization, Greene said. He says developers are coming to build workforce housing in the old mills and new light manufacturing businesses are looking to locate in the city.

"Maine needs many great cities and Waterville is one of them, and investing in this city is a worthy venture," Greene said.