Welcome to Houlton, Maine! As Houlton’s Town Manager, it is a pleasure to provide a brief overview of what our Town and the surrounding areas offer.
Real estate agents will say it is all about location, location, location. That description fits Houlton very well. The Town is located on the United States/Canadian border. Interstate 95 begins at the border and continues all the way to southern Florida. In the other direction, the Interstate connects to the TransCanada Highway in Woodstock, New Brunswick and allows the traveler to access the Atlantic Provinces to the east and south or to Quebec going north. The border also is the beginning point of U. S. Route 2 that runs through the entire State in a generally westerly direction. Route 2 also further divides into U. S. Route 2A in downtown Houlton and U. S. Route 1 intersects with all three in a north/south direction. Year-around information for visitors is available at the Information Rest Area at the I-95/Route 1 interchange.
Houlton is a full service community with a population of about 6,300. It provides full time police, fire, ambulance, public works, and general government services to the community. It boasts an excellent school system and also hosts the Houlton Higher Education Center, a collaborative effort between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College.
Houlton also has rail service and a general aviation airport known as Houlton International Airport. While the airport was originally created to help transfer planes through the “lend lease” program from the U. S. to Canada and England during the early years of World War II, it is now home to an active flying public and provides the opportunity for international flights to clear customs in short order. Aircraft fuel, repair facilities, and hangar rental space are also available.
As the regional service center for southern Aroostook County, Houlton provides an excellent variety of retail shopping and a full array of service providers. A visit to Downtown’s historic and vibrant Market Square is a “must see” and “must shop”. Market Square is a participant in the Main Street Maine Downtown Network program. A number of larger retail businesses are about one mile north of Market Square on Route 1. From furniture stores to discount department stores, there is something for everyone to see and buy. The area is also boosted by the high numbers of Canadian citizens that shop in the Town that adds significantly to Houlton’s attractiveness as a retailing center.
As an incentive to new or expanding businesses, the Town offers various opportunities and programs. Qualified businesses may qualify for tax rebate programs if they locate in an existing Tax-Increment District or the Town can create a special TIF district for them. The Town also offers Pine Tree Zone benefits under a state program that returns significant tax savings to qualified businesses for up to 10 years. A special revolving loan fund has also been established for Market Square businesses. The Town works closely with the Southern Aroostook Development Corporation, Northern Maine Development Commission, and the Houlton Chamber of Commerce in developing investment packages to assist businesses locating in the Town.
From optometrists to dentists to medical specialists, the Town has a full venue of medical care options. Houlton Regional Hospital provides high quality health services as do several long-term care facilities and in-home providers.
The Town is also well positioned for a wide variety of recreational pursuits. From skating at the John Millar Civic Center Arena to fishing, hunting, and camping, Houlton is a center-point. ITS 86 is a major snowmobile trail in northern Maine that attracts thousands of sledders each year. The area also features several all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails as well as a walking trail along the Meduxnekeag Stream in the downtown. If one is looking for other opportunities, Houlton is less than 30 miles from East Grand Lake and its surrounding lakes and streams and within 50 miles of the north entrance to Baxter State Park, Maine’s largest state park.
As the County seat of Aroostook, Houlton is known as the Shiretown. The community was incorporated in 1831. It is the third largest town in Aroostook County.
So come to Houlton – whether to live, invest in a business, or simply to visit. Our friendly people are waiting to meet and welcome you.
Eugene J. Conlogue
Houlton Town Manager