Maine Communities Compete For Economic Development Program Awards

For Immediate Release: November 1, 2012

Media Contact: Doug Ray douglas.ray@maine.gov; 207-624-9802

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has awarded its entire allotment of Economic Development Program (EDP) awards to 20 communities and businesses across the state.

The EDP provides cities and towns with gap funding to assist identified businesses in the creation and or retention of jobs for low and moderate income people. The funds are administered by DECD as part of the federally funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

This year EDP committed nearly $3.1 million dollars to various economic development projects from York to Fort Kent, creating and or retaining more than 140 jobs. This amount represents unused 2011 EDP funds combined with the 2012 allocation.

“These awards have a direct impact on jobs and new revenue benefiting not only these communities but the entire state,” said DECD Commissioner George Gervais. “There were significant changes to the program this year which made it a more attractive tool for communities to utilize on behalf of Maine businesses,” continued Gervais.

Communities and businesses had long complained that the program was too restrictive and the standards too cumbersome to meet, therefore projects were not seeking the program. This year, the LePage Administration made changes to make the program more attractive and, thus, more effective, tailoring the program and removing the per capita income requirement for all jobs created. As a result, more communities realized the benefit of the program on behalf of businesses through the creation of greater economic opportunities primarily for low-and moderate-income residents.

Many business owners believe the program will positively impact their future prosperity. “New FDA regulations required us to either build a new medicine making facility or to close our doors after 27 years in business,” said Avena Botanicals owner Deb Soule. Avena Botanicals received $40,000 to help expand their manufacturing facility. “With support of the grant we were able to retain 8 full time employees here in Rockport,” added Soule.

Projects receiving Economic Development Program funds must provide a 100% cash match of the total EDP award and matching funds must be directly related to the activities undertaken with EDP funding.

For a complete list of EDP awards for 2012 go to www.meocd.org.

#