Annoying Retired Banker Wants to Make Piscataquis County, Maine, Really Pretentious

Alaska and Maine share many similarities: cold, large rural areas, crazy hillbillies, moose, and stunning coastal settings. Alaska has better mountains, though, so Maine can suck it. Although Maine has Tim Horton’s, so maybe we’ll call it a draw–those apple fritters are fucking tasty.

Anyway, I digress. The other similarity they share is that they tend to attract annoying hippie-types, convinced that they can return to the land and find themselves, and blah blah blah. If you live in Alaska, you know exactly the type I’m talking about, and I’m guessing that if you live in Maine, you’ve got a picture in your head, too.

Well, apparently, some guy named Tracy Grayton wants to turn some land in Piscataquis County into a large scale replica of a European ski-village. Cars would be banned, and the village would feature “narrow streets, small storefronts, and pleasant public plazas”; also, panhandlers, homeless people, and purse-snatchers. You did want it to have that authentic European feel, right?

So far, Grayton has $280,000 in seed money, which is thankfully just a fraction of the $2 million he needs to start the project in earnest. I, for one, hope that whoever invested keeps a close eye on Mr. Grayton, because despite raising that much cash, he still has no land picked out.

According to Sarah Goodyear, the author of the article in Atlantic Cities, Mr. Grayton does not seem deterred, nor does he believe that this whole thing is idiotic:

Gayton, whose optimism came through loud and clear on the call, insists that it can happen. “I think it’s doable, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said. “Anyone who thinks I’m a utopian should get out more. This is the way we’ve been building cities for the last 6,000 years, until the last 100 years.”

Yes, nothing at all can go wrong when you give someone money to speculate on land for a planned community; that’s almost never a scam.

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