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Updated: February 27, 2020

Waterville, Bangor gear up for second round of downtown facade grants

Courtesy / Central Maine Growth Council The former Emery block at 80 Main St. in Waterville, which now is home to Day's Jewelry, was awarded a 2019 facade grant and restored the building's street front exterior. The second round of grants was announced this week.

The Central Maine Growth Council has opened the application process for the second cycle of its Façade and Building Improvement Grant Program for downtown Waterville, a program that leveraged nearly $300,000 in investment in the first round.

Bangor, too, announced Thursday it's opening another round of funding for a similar program.

In Waterville, there is $70,000 available this year, funded by Colby College and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation. The grants, for between $2,000 and $10,000, provide reimbursement for up to 50% of a project's estimated budget.

Last year, the program awarded nine grants totalling $60,000 overall to downtown buildings in the first round, which leveraged more than $290,000 in new investment, according to the growth council. 

The program was created to assist property owners and commercial tenants with restoration, renovation, redevelopment and repair of downtown commercial buildings. Its aim is to encourage new and existing property owners and businesses to invest in their commercial storefronts, awnings and signs, while restoring the original character of historic buildings and providing a catalyst for others to improve the visual appearance of their privately owned buildings, according to the growth council.

The more general aim is to support place-based economics, which are a driving force behind vibrant municipalities in the 21st century, Garvan D. Donegan, CMGC’s director of planning and economic development, said when a similar program was announced in Fairfield last year. “A high quality of place attracts investment, residents, and visitors," he said.

Last year's Waterville program achieved that end, and will help boost this year's, he said in a news release announcing the latest round. "The outstanding quality of the projects executed in our 2019 grant funding cycle has contributed significantly to the quality of place and aesthetic value of Waterville’s downtown, encouraging visitors to recreate, shop, and dine on Main Street,” Donegan said.

"The investments made as a result of the Downtown Waterville Façade and Building Improvement Grant Program provide a strong foundation for the 2020 grant cycle and we look forward to reviewing applications which will enhance and revitalize the downtown district’s character.”

Program information, workshop details, and grant application materials are available at and applications are due by April 1, with awarded projects expected to begin in the spring and end in the fall.

Bangor program

In Bangor, the  program, for certain areas of the city, offers grant money up to $15,000, to be matched by equal or greater investment of private money to improve commercial storefronts. Funding may be used for a variety of façade enhancement activities, including painting, window and door repair or replacement, signs, awnings, and storefront restorations.

Applications are being accepted until March 31. More information about the program can be found at

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