As a part of the Maine Downtown Coalition, GrowSmart Maine played a prominent role in working with the Legislature in 2009 to develop the Communities for Maine's Future program. The Communities for Maine’s Future is a $3.5 million bond initiative approved by Maine voters on June 8, 2010 to provide matching grants for downtown revitalization projects that have a public purpose in Maine communities throughout the state. Grant awards will be determined by a review panel and will be administered through the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The review panel has developed a timetable for the grant award process:
- Letters of Intent must be submitted by June 3, 2011
- Applications must be submitted by July 1, 2011
- Announcement of Grant Awards will be made on August 2, 2011
Rules to administer the the grant program process have recently been developed and approved and can soon be viewed (with other program information) at the DECD website:
All grant applications must be sponsored by the host municipality and require a 1:1 match of public or private funds to CMF funds. The Communities for Maine's Future program places an emphasis on the collaboration of municipalities with private sector and non-profit partners. The scoring criteria will require an independent review panel to evaluate the value of the project in terms of economic development, downtown revitalization, historic preservation, tourism development, sustainable development, the degree of collaboration, and more.