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Updated: December 27, 2023

Main Street Skowhegan awarded $425K to boost regional economy

Aerial view of Skowhegan Photo / MXH Marketing Main Street Skowhegan was awarded $425,111 for Phase 1 of a plan to boost the region's economy. Strategies include developing career pathways and apprenticeship programs in several sectors.

Main Street Skowhegan has been awarded $425,000 in federal funding for the first phase of a regional economic development program that includes developing career pathways and apprenticeship programs in sectors from food and agriculture to outdoor recreation.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is for Phase 1 of the Revitalization of Central Maine Recompete Plan developed by a coalition led by Main Street Skowhegan. Only 22 projects were selected out of 400 submitted to the EDA's Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program.

"Strategy development funding from the EDA will increase our capacity and help our coalition lay the groundwork for Recompete Plan Implementation and the opportunity to compete for an additional $20 million to $50 million to tackle rural Maine economic and workforce challenges head-on," said Kristina Cannon, president and CEO of Main Street Skowhegan.  

"Our strategies for regional growth and resilience rely on more than just traditional solutions — they are comprehensive, community-centric and asset-based,” she added.

Regional coalition

The Revitalization of Central Maine Recompete Plan is a coalition led by Main Street Skowhegan to connect residents to good jobs, helping to revitalize the downtown economy in the Skowhegan/Waterville Route 201 corridor.  

Coalition members include Sappi North America, New Balance, the Central Maine Growth Council, Kennebec Valley Community College and a host of others.

The long list of strategies to be developed in Phase 1 include strengthening resources for entrepreneurs, expanding public transportation options and investing in training for employers.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced the funding in a Dec. 20 news release.

“Main Street Skowhegan is committed to revitalizing the community while honoring the region’s rich heritage,” Collins said. "This federal funding will support Main Street Skowhegan’s initiative to help individuals reenter the workforce, helping to promote economic development in the greater Skowhegan and Waterville area.”

Main Street Skowhegan was named a finalist for Phase 2 of the project, for which the application is due in April.

“At that point we'll be able to apply for $20 million to $50 million in grant funding to implement the strategies that we finalized during Phase I,” Cannon told Mainebiz.

Cannon, recently named the 2023 Outdoor Industry Leader of the Year by Maine Outdoor Brands, was honored on the Mainebiz Next list in 2019.

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