USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel has announced nearly $1 million in funding to assist a coastal Maine business, redevelop a former tannery site, and establish a revolving loan fund.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, "These important investments will encourage economic growth and development in rural Maine communities through strategic planning and development, community relending, and support a business in Maine’s thriving tourism sector - all of which create jobs and bolster the growth of small rural Maine businesses.”
Great Northern Cottage Capers, Inc. has been selected to receive a Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan in the about of $920,000 to finance the purchase of Acadia Cottages in Southwest Harbor. The 11 cottages assist in accommodating the high volume of annual visitors to the area each year, between May and October. This longstanding business will continue making an important contribution to the rural economy of Southwest Harbor.
The Town of Howland has been selected to receive a Rural Business Enterprise Grant in the amount of $37,500. Funds will assist with a market study and plan for the ultimate redevelopment of the former Howland Tannery site. This supports the Town’s economic development strategy and would serve as the next step in its efforts to attract private investment for the development of small and emerging businesses on and around the site. Two additional jobs will be created and three businesses will be assisted.
Piscataquis County Economic Development Council has been selected to receive a Rural Business Enterprise Grant in the amount of $21,750 to assist with a revolving loan fund to benefit small and emerging businesses, which engage in commercial activity and support related jobs in this very rural area of northern Maine.
Community and economic development growth is one of the top three current emphasis areas of USDA Rural Development. Smart investments can create ladders of opportunity that provide people in rural places the tools to climb into the middle class. Rural Development does this work in predominantly low-income rural communities by taking a community economic development approach to making investments. The other emphasis areas are support for local and regional food systems and advancing the biobased economy and renewable energy development.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
USDA Rural Development invested $462.5 million in rural Maine communities last fiscal year in the areas of homeownership, business assistance, energy and renewable energy development, water and wastewater and community facilities. The agency has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 59 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.