Mayor says disaster loans will help downtown Lewiston

Posted June 02, 2013, at 5:58 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — Low-interest federal loans aimed at burned-out downtown apartments will help, Mayor Robert Macdonald said Saturday.

“Now we just need to see how far they can go,” Macdonald said. “I don’t know if other landlords, not affected by the fires, will be able to use this. All I know is that some of the landlords, the ones that have to rebuild, this will definitely help them.”

Fires on April 29, May 3 and May 6 in downtown Lewiston destroyed nine apartment buildings and displaced nearly 200 people.

Karen Mills, administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced Friday that Maine residents and businesses affected by three dangerous fires last month could apply for low-interest disaster loans

Gov. Paul R. LePage requested that help last week. The declarations cover Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford and Sagadahoc counties.

According to the SBA, homeowners can qualify for loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

Homeowners and renters also areeligible for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates range from 1.875 percent annually to 4 percent.

The agency will set up a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Lewiston City Hall beginning Tuesday to answer questions about the loan program and to help with applications. The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through Thursday, June 6.

Applications for property damage are due by July 29. Applications for economic injury loans must be filed by March 4, 2014.

Applicants also can apply online at or get information by calling the agency’s customer service center at 800-659-2955.