MILO, Maine — A giant step was taken this week to rebuild the downtown that was destroyed by an arson fire earlier this year.
The town received a $197,300 riverfront grant, one of 14 awarded by the state, which in Milo’s case will be used to expand the Veterans Park and improve the downtown entrance.
“We’re grateful the town of Milo was selected as one of the successful applicants,” Dr. Ken Woodbury Jr. of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council said Thursday. Woodbury is assisting the town in its revitalization effort.
“This is a big step towards rebuilding downtown Milo,” Woodbury.
Federal funds of $280,000 obtained through U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s office for the Safe Streets Project provided matching funds for the state award. The federal funds will pay for new lighting and crosswalks and other amenities to make the town more pedestrian-friendly, according to Woodbury.
“We’re indebted to the governor, his staff and the Maine Legislature for putting this bond issue on the ballot and to voters for their approval,” Woodbury said.
The riverfront grant included $97,576 to extend the Veterans Park to Main Street, Woodbury said. The project will move the existing parking, and allow for tree and shrub planting and other landscaping to “soften the impact as you come into town,” he said.
The remainder of the grant will allow the town to purchase the concrete slab along the Sebec River from Ridgewood Maine Hydro, and it provides funds to purchase some of the property that was destroyed by the fire.
No one has yet been charged in connection with the Sept. 14 arson although police do have a suspect. The fire destroyed the Milo Flower Shop, a former movie theater, the Spot Game Room, Milo True Value Hardware, Hobnobbers Pub and the apartments above the businesses. It also heavily damaged the Milo House of Pizza.