This week, I was pleased to present checks for Community Development Block Grants to several communities. The Department of Economic and Community Development awarded six Community Development Block Grants. The CDBG program has been responsible for over $340,000,000 in investment since the state took it over. CDBG has been responsible for the addition and retention of over 4-thousand jobs for Mainers. It is a vital and important force for local communities.
|Maine's Governor John Baldacci|
One of those communities which received a grant was Skowhegan. Two checks were presented for a total of $650,000 dollars. In Skowhegan, that money will be spent on a $400,000 dollar Downtown Revitalization Project and will match over $7,000,000 in local, private and MDOT funding for improvements to the business center. The second grant is for $250,000 dollars for Non-Profit Development. This will match $50,000 in local funding to create a downtown service center and provide accessibility to underutilized upper story office and retail space.
The development of decent, affordable housing, modern public facilities and infrastructure, vibrant downtowns, cultural and recreational opportunities, essential services and quality jobs are all made possible through flexible funding sources.
But there is disturbing news as well. The federal government is talking about cutting funding for the CDBG Program in the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2007. This sizable reduction in funding would drastically reduce our ability to accomplish many of the common goals we share with partner such as MSHA, DEP, HUD, USDA-RURAL Development, Drinking Water Program, Maine Downtown Center and Community Action Programs. I assure you we are doing everything we can within the system to inform our elected representatives and the federal government that CDBG makes sense for Maine and any major loss in funding would have a highly negative impact across the state.