$3.5 million in Communities for Maine’s Future Grants Awarded to Maine Towns


GrowSmart Maine
309 Cumberland Avenue
Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
CONTACT: Nancy Smith

October 13, 2011




GrowSmart Maine is pleased to announce that the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has awarded 11 grants totaling $3.5 million, to be matched with $11,245,325 of local funds for Communities for Maine’s Future Program downtown revitalization projects. The department received 32 applications requesting a total of $8,603,620.


These competitive grant awards provide funding for projects that restore and revitalize key buildings in the community, improve pedestrian access and safety, and are catalysts for local jobs. The communities receiving awards are Bath, Belfast, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport, Livermore Falls, Monmouth, Norway, Rockland, Skowhegan, Unity, and Winthrop.


The Communities for Maine’s Future program provides funding for the rehabilitation, revitalization and enhancement of downtowns and village centers. The program is intended to promote community development through capital investment to stimulate economic development and job creation.


GrowSmart Maine and the Maine Downtown Coalition worked with the Maine State Legislature in 2009 to provide $3.5 million in bond funding for downtown revitalization grants and $1.25 million for an endangered historic building acquisition fund. Maine Voters approved the Communities for Maine’s Future Bond included in Question 4 in the statewide referendum on June 8, 2010.   


Question 4 read:
“Do you favor a $23,750,000 bond issue to provide capital investment to stimulate economic development and job creation by making investments under the Communities for Maine's Future Program and in historic properties; providing funding for research and development investments awarded through a competitive process; providing funds for disbursements to qualifying small businesses; and providing grants for food processing for fishing, agricultural, dairy and lumbering businesses within the State and redevelopment projects at the Brunswick Naval Air Station that will make the State eligible for over $39,000,000 in federal and other matching funds?’


Features of the $3.5 million bond for the Communities for Maine’s Future program:

  • The Communities For Maine’s Future Fund replaces the Municipal Investment Trust Fund at DECD and is expanded to allow more communities to apply for grant funding;
  • The CMF Fund will be administered by an independent review panel which will use a competitive scoring process to ensure the best proposals are funded and will develop rules concerning the details of the competitive grant award process;
  • Municipalities are the applicants and projects must have a public purpose;
  • The grant scoring process encourages collaboration with private sector and nonprofit partners;
  • Project proposals should be part of an overall revitalization or economic development strategy and not simply stand-alone projects;
  • Project proposals must be focused around a community center, whether that’s a historic downtown, village center or Main Street;
  • The scoring criteria requires the review panel to evaluate the value of the project in terms of economic development, downtown revitalization, historic preservation, tourism development, sustainable development, degree of collaboration, and more.

Downtown revitalization creates jobs, makes downtowns more attractive places to live, promotes energy efficiency and helps to preserve open space.




News on Communities for Maine's Future Awards:

$400,000 for grange renovation – Kennebec Journal, 10/17/11

Money in the bank, Harbor Walk to follow  – Village Soup,10/12/11