April 05, 2020

Bucksport moves forward on downtown grant

BUCKSPORT — The town may face stiff competition for the $396,000 downtown revitalization grant it seeks.

At Thursday night’s Town Council meeting, where the town’s application was outlined during a public hearing, Town Manager Roger Raymond said the Community Development Block Grant program will fund only two downtown projects in the state this year.

Nonetheless, as the product of an estimated 138 local committee meetings over two years, the application will surely reflect the high degree of community comment that granting agencies like to see, said Raymond. The document will be submitted to the state Office of Community Development for consideration later this week.

The grant application also attempts to meet the CDBG program requirement that funded projects eliminate slum and blight. According to Raymond, state officials have indicated that the elements contained in Bucksport’s application would satisfy that demand.

The application reflects only those parts of Bucksport’s recently finalized 10-year downtown revival plan considered appropriate for CDBG funding, such as the proposed purchase and demolition of a dilapidated building next to the post office.

Removing the structure would meet slum and blight elimination standards, as well as create 37 badly needed parking spaces, Raymond said.

Other goals would include building or repairing sidewalks and installing granite curbing from First Street to Franklin Street, repairing the monument in front of the Jed Prouty Motel, and stabilizing shoreline between the town dock and Sprague’s dock, as well as near the Bucksport-Verona bridge.

The council could eventually appropriate local dollars for goals not covered by CDBG guidelines, including building ornamental gateways at the major entrances to town, upgrading Marina Point, and adding benches to the waterfront and Main Street, Raymond said.

Neither the Town Council nor audience members commented on the application.

Also Thursday night, the Town Council scheduled a joint meeting with the Bucksport School Board for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the school superintendent’s office.

The two panels will discuss possible middle school and high school construction projects, and hear a report from the Bucksport cultural and arts auditorium study committee, which is proposing a $1.5 million multipurpose arts facility for the town.

They will also discuss vocational education and the paper industry, Raymond said.

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