Milo, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Monson, Greenville and Dexter were awarded Community Development Block Grants through the Department of Economic and Community Development in the latest funding rounds announced Tuesday.
"I would say that Piscataquis County certainly had significant funds granted," Rep. Sharon Libby-Jones, D-Greenville, said Tuesday. She thinks the "startling" results released on Piscataquis County by the U.S. Census helped divert the funds northward from Augusta.
"These grants will certainly help us with our long-term economic planning," Libby-Jones, a member of the Greenville Board of Selectmen and a member of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, said Tuesday.
Greenville officials were elated to learn that the town not only received a $300,000 housing rehabilitation grant to improve the living conditions of income-eligible homeowners, but also was awarded a $10,000 planning grant in cooperation with Piscataquis County to address needed improvements to Greenville Junction and Moosehead Junction Township.
"Both of these grants are going to pave the way for a brighter future," Town Manager John Simko said.
The study of the junction and surrounding area will center on needed improvements to the Greenville Junction Wharf, but also will study landscaping, lighting and pedestrian traffic needs.
Nearby, Monson officials learned that their request for a $10,000 planning grant to study the development of additional water sources and fire protection was approved. Town officials want to replace the old hydrant system with a more modern system.
Guilford Town Manager Robert Littlefield said the $10,000 planning grant his town received for a study of the revitalization of the downtown was prompted by Guilford of Maine. The textile manufacturer has begun its own project to help improve the town. The company purchased two dilapidated buildings and had them demolished and has begun restoration of the brick Scales Block, a building located across from the Guilford of Maine plant.
"It seems that we are making progress," Littlefield said of the grant and local beautification efforts.
Dover-Foxcroft, in conjunction with Sebec, Atkinson and Sangerville, was awarded a $300,000 grant for community housing rehabilitation to continue a program started several years ago. This will be the town's fifth housing grant in several years.
Milo, in cooperation with Orneville, also received a $300,000 housing rehabilitation grant.
A $10,000 planning grant to study the redevelopment of the Abbott Mill, a brick building used for storage by Guilford of Maine, was awarded to Dexter, according to Town Manager Robert Simpson. He said the grant would allow the local development corporation to look at all the options for using the building for economic development. If the study determines there are good possibilities for the mill, then discussions will be held with Guilford of Maine for its purchase. If the discussions prove fruitful, the town likely would apply for an infrastructure grant to move the project forward.
"The Department of Economic and Community Development certainly is sensitive to the economic conditions in central Maine and this approach
to develop new business opportunities," Simpson said.
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