During Visit to Aroostook County, Governor Mills Presents Fort Kent Business with Maine Jobs & Recovery Grant Award; Tours Presque Isle Business

March 5, 2022

Aroostook County, MAINE — After joining Maine people in watching the Can-Am International Sled Dog Race, Governor Janet Mills personally presented a Fort Kent business owner with a Maine Jobs and Recovery Grant Award today and visited a Presque Isle business that also received an economic recovery grant from her Administration to support their redevelopment efforts.

“I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents who were potato farmers in Ashland. They worked hard every day to provide for themselves and support their community. Now every time I visit, I think of them, and of how much I love the County. I want to make sure that every family has the opportunity to put down roots here, have a good-paying job, and be able to live a safe, comfortable life,” said Governor Janet Mills. “That’s why I am so focused on strengthening the economy of the County and supporting businesses like Dinah’s Laundromat and entrepreneurs like Ignite PI. I am glad to know that the grants my Administration has provided are helping them deal with the impacts of the pandemic, putting them in a better position not only to keep their doors open, but to thrive in the long-run. I will work as hard as I can to support Maine’s small businesses as our economy makes a strong comeback.”

Joined by the Chair of the Fort Kent Town Council, Jake Robichaud, Governor Mills personally presented a grant of approximately $2,000 to Dinah Gagnon, owner of Dinah’s Laundromat in Fort Kent. The Governor this week announced that her Administration is awarding more than 382 small businesses and non-profit organizations across the state grants through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help them deal with the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dinah’s Laundromat won one of these awards. Dinah’s also celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2020.

"I've operated Dinah's Laundromat in Fort Kent for more than three decades -- and the last couple of years have been the most difficult," said Dinah Gagnon, owner of Dinah's Laundromat. "This assistance is a big help. I thank the governor for making this support available to businesses like mine."

The Governor then joined Ignite PI for a tour of the Northeastland Hotel in Presque Isle and a briefing about how Ignite PI is working to promote economic growth in the area through entrepreneurship and innovation. Last year, Ignite PI received a $100,000 economic recovery grant award through the Governor’s Charter Transportation and Border Business Assistance Grant Program.

Governor Mills visits Fort Kent

Photos, clockwise from top left: Clint Deschene of Ignite PI briefs Governor Mills on renovations at Northeastland Hotel which were made possible by a previous grant awarded by her Administration; Governor Mills joins Maine people in watching the Can-Am International Sled Dog Race; Governor Mills personally presents Dinah Gagnon of Dinah’s Laundromat with a Maine Jobs & Recovery Grant Award

The Mills Administration has delivered more than $273 million in Federal grant funding to Maine businesses and non-profits to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

“The last few years have been particularly challenging for businesses in Maine’s rural communities. That’s why we have prioritized meaningful relief to small businesses in Fort Kent, Presque Isle, and across our state,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “These investments will ensure that Aroostook County businesses like Dinah’s Laundromat and Ignite PI cannot only catch up, but take advantage of Maine’s strong economic recovery.”

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.

It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.

Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine in 2021. Coordination of the Jobs Plan is led by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future.

For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.