13 Maine Communities Earn Grant Awards

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is announcing that 14 municipalities from Fort Kent to Sanford have been awarded funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program administered by the Office of Community Development within DECD.

The latest round includes funding from the following grant programs: Economic Development, Workforce Development, Micro-Enterprise Assistance, and Downtown Revitalization.

“These awards have a direct impact on jobs and enhance the ability of our cities and towns to attract new private investment,” said DECD Commissioner George Gervais.

The Economic Development Program (EDP) provides communities with gap funding to assist identified businesses in the creation and/or retention of jobs for low and moderate income people. The $2,700,000 allocated for 2014 is administered by DECD as part of the federally funded Community Development Block Grant Program. Communities and businesses benefiting from this round of $910,000 in awards are as follows:

• Brunswick – Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority - $250,000 for building improvements to transition a hanger to a tech business accelerator; helping to create 25 jobs.

• Madawaska – Evergreen Manufacturing Group - $150,000 for additional manufacturing and warehouse space; creating 5 jobs.

• Madawaska – Gateway Hospitality - $150,000 for refurbishment of former Gateway Motel to transitional living facility; creating 5 jobs.

• New Canada – Hebert Construction - $90,000 for expansion of existing business in to expand manufacturing capability; creating 3 jobs.

• Rockport – Fresh Off the Farm - $270,000 for municipal sewer project needed in order to keep the business open; retention of 9 jobs.

The Workforce Development Grant (WDG) Program provides a maximum of $100,000 for operating expenses, equipment, and program materials for workforce training programs. Communities and businesses benefiting from this round of awards are as follows:

• Augusta – National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine Chapter - $98,000 for peer to peer education for 60 individuals and first aid training for 300 individuals.

• Eastport – Millennium Marine - $100,000 for training 12 individuals on all aspects of working in a commercial boat building facility, including; assembly, laminating, and quality control.

• Nashville – Irving Forest Products - $97,500 for training 60 individuals on all aspects of operating a leading technology sawmill, including; hydraulics, drying kiln, and operating high-precision equipment.

The Micro-Enterprise Assistance (MEA) Grant Program provides grant funds to assist in innovative solutions to problems faced by micro-enterprise businesses. Assistance to businesses may be in the form of grants or loans at the discretion of the community. Communities and businesses benefiting are as follows:

• Fort Kent – $150,000 for facade improvements to downtown buildings recovering from previous flood damage; matched by $50,000 from building owners.

• Frenchville – $150,000 for micro-enterprise grants to a potential 12 micro-enterprise businesses for new heating system, replacement freezers, dog grooming station, air conditioning, etc.; matched by $63,927 from participating business owners.

• Madison – $25,000 for repair of siding and broken windows and clean-up of deep hole left after a building fire; matched by $3,500 from business owner.

• Winthrop – $100,000 for micro-enterprise grants to two businesses; Custom Glass Terrariums and Flaky Tart Café; matched by $3,000 from business owners.

• Sanford - $100,000 for micro-enterprise grants to several micro-businesses for new software, additional equipment, and production space; matched by $70,000 from participating business owners.

The Downtown Revitalization (DR) Grant Program provides a maximum of $400,000 to communities to implement solutions to problems facing their downtown districts. The projects must be part of a strategy targeting business districts leading to new opportunities for private investment. This year’s award is to:

• Skowhegan - $400,000 to replace drainage system for large central parking area used by multiple businesses; matched by $178,000 in town funds.