MONSON, Maine — This community wants to improve its appearance so more tourists will stop and enjoy the amenities of the town, rather than just breeze through on their way to the Moosehead Lake region.
The town has applied for a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant for street and facade improvements to make the small town more appealing. The $900,000 water main replacement project that began last summer and will resume next summer will satisfy the requirement for a local match, so no property tax dollars will be needed, according to Town Manager Julie Anderson.
“That would enable the businesses to do some work on their buildings, to improve them,” Anderson said Thursday. This will be the second time in about 15 years the town has applied for the grant. She hopes the project will rate high enough this year to be funded. “I just think it would help make the town attractive so people would stop and look around rather than use the town as a throughway.”
The former elementary school could help play a role in the town’s revitalization. After a new regional elementary school opened in Dover-Foxcroft last year, SAD 68 deeded to the town the school and the 15 acres surrounding it. Town officials accepted the property to protect the acreage, which is used as the town’s ball field, according to Anderson.
Because the school has some maintenance issues, town officials have applied for a $200,000 public infrastructure grant. Those funds would help repair the roof over the older section of the school, make improvements to the heating system, and help with the replacement of some windows. The local share, if the grant were approved, would be $40,000 over a two-year period, Anderson said.
A committee will study the possible uses for the school and forward a proposal to the residents at the annual town meeting. Anderson said some residents would like to move the library into the school and have a computer room with computers for public use.
A public hearing on the possible uses will be held before the annual town meeting, Anderson said. She said if the proposals are rejected, then residents will have to decide whether to keep the building.