Mitchell Center hosts talk about Bucksport’s resilience and resurgence

The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk by Susan Lessard, town manager of Bucksport, about how the town has weathered dramatic changes and what other communities can learn from their experience from 3–4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8

In 2018, Yankee magazine published a story in which they dubbed Bucksport “The Town That Refused to Die.” With the loss of 40% of its tax base and nearly 300 jobs after the closure of the Verso paper mill in December 2014, many people thought that Bucksport would become just one more dying former mill town. 

The town’s story instead became one of resilience and resurgence, centered around “five P’s” — people, planning, partnerships, persistence and progress. Lessard’s talk, also called “The Town That Refused to Die,” will focus on how integrating those concepts is helping Bucksport not only survive, but thrive, and how they can help any community move forward. 

Through this talk, Lessard hopes to convince participants of the importance of becoming more involved in their communities.

The talk is free and available via Zoom; registration is required. To register and receive connection information, visit the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196;

Lessard was born and raised in Maine and has spent more than 38 years working in municipal government. She is a graduate of UMaine and has served as town manager of Bucksport since 2015. She previously held similar positions in Hampden, Vinalhaven, Fayette and Livermore Falls. In addition to her municipal work, she serves on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and as a trustee for H.O.M.E. Inc. in Orland.