By Diana Bowley of the BDN Staff: DEXTER, Maine — The exterior renovation of the Fossa General Store and Dexter Community Farm Project is nearly complete and local officials are working to secure grants for the interior work, according to Dexter Town Manager Dave Pearson.
“I think it looks pretty good. It looked ugly as sin for a couple of years, so I think maybe it was worth the wait,” Pearson told the Town Council on Thursday.
The work is funded by one of several grants the town has received to spruce up the community. The town also has a Main Street grant to help businesses and a grant to improve housing.
Funds from the Main Street grant, which has income guidelines and requires a match, has been used by the Brewster Inn. The Country Charm also was awarded a grant to help track its inventory. A third business was awarded a grant but the owner disqualified himself, according to Pearson. About $18,000 to $20,000 remains in the account and those funds will be redirected to another business owner, he said. Any local business wanting more information should contact the town office.
More than seven projects are under way using funds from a $500,000 housing grant, Pearson said. The money is being used to improve the homes of qualified owners and some funds will be used to replace housing.
Pearson, Judy Wilbur Craig, director of the Fossa building project and the farm project, along with Jason Bird, the town’s grant writer, are now searching for additional grants to finish the Fossa building. About $300,000 has been invested in the restoration of the building to date, according to Bird.
Bird said the project received a $40,000 grant from USDA Rural Development to construct a kitchen in the building. The first floor will be retail space and the upstairs will be office space. The emphasis now is to get the renovation work completed and the downstairs finished so the store can be opened, he said.
The general store will be a year-round farm store and will have a demonstration kitchen. Also planned as part of the farm project is the construction or renovation of a building for a creamery to process milk, yogurt and ice cream, and for use as a warehouse.
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