USDA Rural Development to support 7 projects in Maine

BANGOR — USDA Rural Development is investing more than $500,000 in seven organizations through the Rural Business Development Grant. These funds will support economic development activities in rural Maine communities.

Acting Maine State Executive Higgins said, This USDA Rural Development investment helps fund a wide variety of economic development projects and benefits Maine businesses, while creating and preserving jobs in communities across the state. These grants will support farms, provide training for Native American businesses, help purchase trail grooming equipment, and more,” according to a USDA press release.

Seven Maine organizations will receive a total of $539,053 in rural business development grants:

• The Eastern Maine Development Corporation in Bangor received $32,388, to be used to help the Eastern Maine Development Corporation conduct a feasibility study for an abattoir and meat processing facility. This aid will ultimately benefit farmers and independent growers who are members of Perseco LLC.

• The Sunrise County Economic Council in Machias received $99,900, to be used to purchase furniture and other equipment for the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship. The center will have a co-working space, open co-working stations, shared office equipment, a kitchen area and will offer training and programming activities for small businesses. Sunrise County Economic County will help seven businesses and create two full-time equivalent jobs.

• The Arnold Trail Snowmobile Network of Eustis received $125,500 to be used to purchase snowmobile trail grooming equipment to replace an old heavy maintenance trail groomer. This equipment is vital to the winter economy and ensures continued access to businesses during the winter months. The project will help 13 businesses and save 20 full-time equivalent jobs.

• Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford received $22,212 to be used for the purchase of alpine trail grooming equipment to replace an old, high maintenance snow groomer. Black Mountain is vital to Rumford’s winter economy and plays a major role in its economic development. The mountain’s historic reputation and ski events are key to Rumford attracting a new Best Western hotel to the area. Black Mountain of Maine will help nine businesses.

• The Town of Caribou received $95,000, to be used to purchase snowmobile trail groomer equipment to replace an old heavy maintenance trail groomer. This equipment is vital to the winter economy and ensures continued access to businesses during the winter months. Caribou will help 21 businesses and save 15 full-time equivalent jobs.

• Four Directions Development Corporation in Orono received $92,500, to be used to help Four Directions Development Corporation provide one-on-one technical assistance by reservation. This assistance will be available to existing and start-up Native American business owners across Maine. Four Directions Development Corporations will support 12 businesses and help create 15 jobs.

• Catholic Charities Maine in Portland received $71,553, which will be used by Catholic Charities Maine to purchase a broccoli topper and rent it to WR Allen in Orland. This equipment allows WR Allen to diversify its current processing capabilities and provide an additional source of revenue. Catholic Charities will help five businesses statewide and create 57 jobs.

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Development Grants Program provides grants to entities such as cities, communities, and nonprofit organizations for economic development. For more information, contact Ivana Hernandez Clukey, Business Lending and Cooperative Services Specialist, at 207-990-9127 or [email protected].

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