April 20, 2018
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Feds award $2.7 million for development projects in 13 Maine communities

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Projects in 13 Maine towns will share $2.7 million from federal programs aimed at economic and workforce development, downtown revitalization and helping small businesses.

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development announced the latest round of grants that will benefit projects in Augusta, Brunswick, Eastport, Fort Kent, Frenchville, Madawaska, Madison, Nashville, New Canada, Rockport, Sanford, Skowhegan and Winthrop.

The largest share of the latest grants through various federal Community Development Block Grant programs will go to Skowhegan, which will get $400,000 through the Downtown Revitalization Grant Program to replace a drainage system used by multiple businesses downtown. The city will spend $178,000 of its own money on the project.

A block of $910,000 in grants will come through the Economic Development Program, which supports business expansion or projects that promise to provide jobs for low- to moderate-income people.

Those projects included $270,000 to Fresh Off the Farm in Rockport for a municipal sewer project needed to keep the nine-employee business operating; $250,000 to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority in Brunswick to transition a hangar at the former Navy air base to a technology business incubator; $150,000 to Evergreen Manufacturing to expand manufacturing and warehouse space in Madawaska; $150,000 to Gateway Hospitality in Madawaska to refurbish the former Gateway Motel into a transitional living facility; and $90,000 to Herbert Construction in New Canada for expansion of its manufacturing facility.

Another block of $295,500 will come through the Workforce Development Grant Program. That includes $100,000 to Millenium Maine in Eastport for training 12 people to work in a commercial boat building facility; $98,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Maine Chapter, in Augusta, for peer education training and first aid training; and $97,500 to Irving Forest Products in Nashville for training 60 people on working with its high-tech sawmills.

The last batch of federal grants announced this week is $525,000 through the Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant Program.

That includes $150,000 for facade improvements to downtown buildings in Fort Kent; $150,000 for new heating systems, freezers, a dog-grooming station and air conditioning for 12 businesses in Frenchville; $25,000 for repair of broken windows and other damage from a building fire in Madison; $100,000 for Custom Glass Terrariums and Flaky Tart Cafe in Winthrop; and $100,000 for new software, equipment and expanded production space for several businesses in Sanford.

Some of the micro-enterprise grants require matching funds from the businesses. All of the federal programs are administered in Maine by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

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