Saco’s mayor, Mark Johnston, is not running for re-election this fall. We certainly wish his successor well, regardless of who that may be, but we hope the people of Saco realize how important Mark’s steady hand has been, especially in the last few years, a time of severe economic challenges. Hopefully THIS VIDEO elaborates and provides a helpful context.
We announced a significant redevelopment of Saco Island in October of 2007, and a heavy component of our planning was the major expansion of available housing. Then 2008 arrived. The violent housing crash, unprecedented in U.S. history, began.
If you haven’t yet, read this very frightening article in Vanity Fair. The cause of world financial collapse that began in 2008, and the fallout that lingers to this day, was the failure or risk of failure at major financial institutions globally, starting with the rescue of investment bank Bear Stearns in March 2008 and the failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Many of these institutions had invested heavily in risky securities that lost much or all of their value when U.S. and European housing bubbles began to deflate during the 2007-2009 period. Further, many institutions had become dependent on short-term (overnight) funding markets subject to disruption.
In short, disaster. Like real estate developers nationwide, Saco Island was forced to first weather the financial hurricane, then we had to TOTALLY re-design the long-term redevelopment of the Island based on a completely new financial reality.
Mayor Johnston understood this. He was stoic and mature. He was insightful. He was helpful. His outlook was patience, not panic. Saco Island survived, and redevelopment now continues. It’s possible that very few will credit Mayor Johnston for this. But we do.