Belfast, Rockland, Unity Awarded Downtown Grants
Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:27 AM
Belfast, Rockland and Unity were among 11 municipalities in the state that were just awarded Communities for Maine's Future (CMF) grants for downtown development projects that will benefit the public.
• Belfast will receive $400,000 from the Communities for Maine's Future (CMF) to help complete the harbor-front walkway from the Belfast Boathouse to the Armistice Footbridge.
"It has put us over the top," said City Planner Wayne Marshall, who submitted the grant request. City Manager Joe Slocum said the award was announced on September 13.
Belfast was one of 32 municipalities in the state that competed for a limited amount of funding. The maximum grant award was $400,000 per project.
"It costs about $1 million to build the heart of the walkway and we have that now," said Marshall. "It won't allow us to put in every bench and bush, but it will allow us to put in all the walkway, the signage and the lighting.
Lighting is about 25 percent of the total cost, he said.
Construction will begin next spring, with the trail to open in June and final touches put in place later in the year.
• Rockland also received a $400,000 CMF grant award, which will go to upgrading the parking area behind the Thorndike building on Main Street. A brick walkway along the back of the block of buildings that runs from Tillson Avenue to Glover's Alley, improved lighting, landscaping and planters are designed to make the back of the block pedestrian-friendly. A portion of the money will be used to help pay for public access from Main Street through the Thorndike building to the parking lot at the back, including an elevator. The Thorndike building will also undergo privately funded renovations, according to Rockland Mayor Brian Harden.
• Unity Barn Raisers was awarded $305,000 for work on three buildings: the Unity Community Center will receive a new roof, and two adjacent buildings will be completely restored. The buildings will be used for a farmer's market, a soup kitchen, and community meeting space. One building will be used by local farmers to store, process and sell farm products and be the headquarters for a multi-farm community-supported agriculture effort that will allow farmers to pool supplies to fill larger orders on a regular basis.
All CMF grants require proof of matching funds.
CMF, a $3.5 million fund, is part of a larger bond that was approved by Maine voters in 2010. CMF funds, which are highly competitive, are for downtown revitalization projects that have a strong public purpose and emphasize collaboration with private and nonprofit funding partners.