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July 25, 2017

Immigrant-welcoming food market proposed in Augusta

A group of organizers is proposing to build a food market in downtown Augusta as a welcome center for immigrants.

The Morning Sentinel reported that a group led by Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy students and graduates is seeking grants for the expected startup cost of between $1 million and $1.5 million, and is looking for 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space to renovate as a dining area and industrial kitchen.

The group is seeking nonprofit status and has worked with the Capital Area New Mainers Project to develop the plan. According to its website, The Capital Area New Mainers Project is a cross-cultural organization that welcomes immigrants, working to meet their immediate and long-term needs by coordinating volunteer support services, soliciting in-kind donations and hosting meetings and events.

It's expected the market will be open by summer 2018, and that revenues generated by food sales and hosting events could cover 90% of its operating costs.

"Sharing culture will help revitalize the economy and reverse decades of demographic decline," Hania Mumtaz, one of the Tufts group, told the newspaper.

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