After winning election to the Hancock Board of Selectmen in May 2016, George Colwell is finishing his first year as board chairman. He sees several challenges awaiting the town as 2020 approaches.
Growing up in Hancock, Colwell graduated from Ellsworth High School and studied engineering physics at the University of Maine at Orono. He owns Colwell Diesel Service & Garage, the business started by his father in 1957. Located at 192 Downeast Highway (Route 1) in Ellsworth, the company sells and services International trucks and Cummins and Detroit diesel engines.
At 38.87 square miles in size, Hancock borders Ellsworth, Fletchers Landing Township, Franklin, Lamoine, and Sullivan. Initially settled in 1766 and incorporated as a town in February 1828, Hancock has grown substantially in the last 40 years as its close proximity to Ellsworth has made the town a bedroom community for Hancock County’s shire town.
Where the 1980 census found only 1,409 residents in Hancock, that number rose to 1,757 residents in 1990 and 2,147 residents in 2000. The 2010 census found 2,394 people living in Hancock. Business development has focused along Route 1 and at Washington Junction, the former Maine Central Railroad yard on the western edge of Hancock.
Whether occurring on Hancock Point or elsewhere, population growth and related development have put pressure on town services. Colwell indicated that the challenges facing the town include “balancing the needs and desires of the residents with the reality of costs and regulation.”
He supports “developing land use within the scope of existing ordinances such that it maximizes the benefit to the residents of Hancock, but also protects against mistakes of the past and possible inequities of the future.”