Volunteer firefighters recognized for their service
during event at new Plymouth Fire and Rescue Station
Plymouth, Dec. 21, 2023 – In the shelter of a brand-new, four-bay fire station, USDA Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson today announced the final of five major USDA Rural Development grants to Central Maine towns in 2023 to construct new fire stations. Plymouth, Greenville, and Newburgh join Corinna and Bradford in building spacious public safety buildings with USDA Community Facilities grants. U.S. Senator Susan Collins championed the projects through congressionally directed spending.
The announcement came on National Maine Day, celebrating Maine as the 23rd state to join the union. Following this week’s catastrophic flooding, the Plymouth Fire and Rescue Station was a fitting place to celebrate the best things about Maine. Like many communities, Plymouth relies on an all-volunteer fire department. They respond to local emergencies and assist ten neighboring towns when needed through mutual aid agreements. At the event, Director Hampson noted, “On National Maine Day, we want to recognize those selfless volunteers who anchor rural life across our state. Rural Development is here to help fund the facilities, but it is the people that make the community.”
Senator Collins and Director Hampson joined the Plymouth Fire Department, members of the local select board, and Plymouth Town Office staff at a gathering to celebrate the new facility.
In her remarks, the senator praised the volunteer force and noted the bravery and selflessness first responders around Maine have exemplified this week “protecting our families and communities.” She continued, “We can only dimly grasp the skill, the dedication, and the discipline that it takes to rescue and tend to the victims of a fire or accident. Let me thank all of you for your dedication, your courage, and your skill that you bring to your volunteer work every day.”
Maine’s recent storm was on everyone’s minds. Director Hampson referenced it in her remarks, saying, “This week all too many Mainers lived through dangerous circumstances in Monday’s storm and the flooding that followed. We have been reminded of just how vital our first responders are - and in rural Maine, many of those emergency responders are volunteers. That spirit of shared responsibility, and the commitment to mutual aid between neighbors, is part of what makes life in Maine the one we’d choose every time.”
Each of the area towns that has recently built a new fire station has a small population. However, because the fire departments collaborate in responding to emergencies and in training and other efforts, the new facilities serve rural residents well beyond each town’s boundaries.
- Bradford - $1.387M USDA Community Facilities grant ($463K commercially funded). Construction of the new fire station is complete. Locally, 1290 residents benefit.
- Corinna – $1.725M USDA Community Facilities grant ($575K bonded). Construction of the new fire station began this fall. The original station was built in 1952. Locally, 3,264 residents benefit.
- Greenville – $902K USDA Community Facilities grant ($5.6M bonded). The original fire station was built in 1963. Construction of the new public safety building (to house the fire department, police department, and a community meeting room) is nearly complete. Locally, 8945 residents benefit.
- Newburgh – $1M USDA Community Facilities grant ($327K in other funds applied). The original station was over 50 years old. Construction of the new station is complete. Locally, 1551 residents benefit.
- Plymouth – $800K USDA Community Facilities grant ($852K commercially funded). The original structure was built in 1972. Construction of the new fire station is complete. Locally, 1380 residents benefit.
Altogether, USDA Rural Development invested $5.8M across these five Central Maine towns for the fire stations. These particular projects were championed as congressionally directed spending by Senator Collins, but eligible rural communities may apply at any time to USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. Public bodies, community-based nonprofits, and federally-recognized tribes are eligible. Visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/me (look under “Key Programs”) or Contact Bob Nadeau, Community Programs Director (firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-990-9121) for more information.
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