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A Brief History

Casco Bay Island Development Association


A product of post World War II optimism and the contemporaneous need to address projects long deferred by the Great Depression and then the war years, Casco Bay Island Development Association was organized on Peaks Island initially to address island beautification and development, social welfare, and collective representation of island interests, among others. The organization soon expanded to include representatives from most of the Casco Bay islands including not only Peaks but also Long Island, Cliff Island, Chebeague Island, Cushing Island, and Great and Little Diamond Islands.

Early efforts included island clean ups, eradication of deteriorated housing stock, promotion of island development, and improvement of ferry piers and service. After these early successes the organization turned its attention to the purchase of former government land on Peaks Island from Peter Cioffi. As part of a long range and complex strategy CBIDA floated a bond issue in support of the purchase of that land, and, over time, the project led to the development of the “Back Shore” on Peaks and infrastructure improvements there, as well as the first set asides for preserved public land there.

Other notable projects included leading the effort to create the Casco Bay Island Transportation District to ensure more efficient and reliable ferry service; influencing the development of island zoning standards adopted by the City of Portland; achieving limits to the development of Diamond Cove at the former Fort McKinley; participation in various coalitions to preserve the Portland working waterfront and water quality in Casco Bay;, and regular publication and distribution of a Casco Bay newsletter and boating brochure.

At present, CBIDA is focused on enhancing and protecting the quality of life here on the Casco Bay islands, and, toward that goal, makes small grants each year to island non profits which are also working toward that end.