LINCOLN, Maine — A proposed senior citizen housing development at West Broadway and Main Street will get a $250,000 boost thanks to the Town Council’s vote to accept a Community Development Block Grant.
Construction at the former Lake Mall site of a $4.07 million, 24-unit senior housing complex will begin by the end of September, Economic Development Director Ruth Birtz said.
“They are hoping to start next month, but by September, definitely,” Birtz said Wednesday.
Called Lakeview Senior Housing, the building at Main Street and West Broadway will be about 15,000 square feet. It will be operated by the social service agency Penquis of Bangor. Officials at Penquis familiar with the project did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.
Lincoln had helped Penquis secure a housing assistance grant for $250,000 to help fund construction through the federal Community Development Block Grant program. The town is helping the organization with a tax increment financing deal, or TIF. The Town Council voted 7-0 to support those initiatives in September.
Monday’s vote formally accepted the grant and authorized Town Manager Lisa Goodwin to sign grant agreements and other documents that would allow construction to proceed. The motions passed with no discussion during the 25-minute meeting, Town Clerk Stacy Powell said.
Council Chairman Steve Clay said it will be good to finally see the large crater at the intersection filled with something purposeful. The building will fill a space left by the last of eight Main Street properties devastated by arson in late 2002.
“It will be the end of the rebuilding process for the fires and it will be great for downtown,” Clay said Tuesday. “It adds that much more foot traffic for the people who have businesses there. It will be good not to have a big hole there anymore.”
Tax increment financing is among the state’s leading tools for aiding economic development. When a town realizes an increase in valuation created by an investment, it also experiences a reduction in its share of state revenues and an increase in county taxes. A TIF allows a town to “shelter” the new valuation from the calculations of state revenue sharing, education subsidy and county tax assessment, in effect creating more money for the town, usually over a 20-year period.
The Penquis TIF, Birtz has said, will allow the agency to use the sheltered valuation funds to lower the rent charged to senior citizens and make it affordable for them.