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January 5, 2017

USDA invests $11.1M to improve quality of life in six counties

Projects located in Hancock, Penobscot, Washington, Somerset, Aroostook and Lincoln counties are slated to receive a total of $11.1 million in loans and grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enhance infrastructure at essential community facilities.

"These meaningful community projects will benefit thousands of rural Maine residents in significant ways, including improved access to wastewater infrastructure, health care and mental health programs and the expansion of a rural education facility," USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said in a statement today announcing the projects to be funded. "I am pleased that USDA Rural Development could provide over $11 million to invest in projects that will have a major impact on the lives of the residents in these rural Maine communities."

Projects selected to receive funding:

Winter Harbor Utility District, Hancock County: $4.6 million, comprised of a $2.3 million Water and Waste Farm Bill Section 6025 Loan and $2.3 million grant.

Funds will used to upgrade the district's wastewater treatment facility and collection system. The wastewater treatment facility has been in operation for more than 40 years and currently serves 244 residential and 27 commercial/governmental customers. The upgrades are required due to the age and condition of the existing facility and to ensure the district will meet clean water standards. The district's wastewater system plays an important role in preserving the clean waters of Henry Cove and the Atlantic Ocean.

Penquis Mental Health Association, Penobscot County: $170,000 Community Facility Direct Loan.

Rural Development funds will be used to purchase an existing residential facility that will provide essential development and intellectual disability services. This project will provide a facility for the adult residential supported living program, which provides those with special needs with a stable living environment that allows individuals to focus on personal growth and other dimensions such as friendships, employment, long-term recovery and full community inclusion.

City of Eastport, Washington County: $4 million, comprised of a $2 million Water and Waste Farm Bill Section 6025 Loan and a $2 million grant.

Funds will be used to upgrade the city's wastewater treatment facility and collection system. The wastewater treatment facility currently serves 493 residential and 53 commercial/governmental customers. The upgrades are required due to the age and condition of the existing facility and to ensure the city will meet clean water standards. The city's wastewater system plays an important role in preserving the clean waters of Cobscook Bay, Passamaquoddy Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Kennebec Montessori School Inc., Somerset County: $700,000 Community Facilities Direct Loan.

Funds will be used to construct a 2,400-square-foot addition to the existing school located in Fairfield. This project is needed to provide the space needed to accommodate expanded upper elementary classes.

Fish River Rural Health, Aroostook County: $1.35 million Community Facility Direct Loan.

Funds will be used to construct a medical facility in Fort Kent. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated the area as a "medically underserved area" for primary care, mental health and dental health. Fish River Rural Health is a federally qualified health center with clinic locations in Eagle Lake and Fort Kent. Demand for Fish River Rural Health medical services in its Fort Kent facility has outgrown the existing infrastructure and additional space is needed.

Waldoboro Utility District, Lincoln County: $300,000, comprised of a $200,000 Water and Waste Direct Loan and a $100,000 grant.

Funds will be used for upgrades to the district's sewer distribution system, including reconstructing upwards of 80 manholes next to the wastewater treatment facility.

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