BELFAST, MAINE- The City of Belfast has learned that it has been awarded a $150,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant. These funds will be used to provide grants and/or loans to for-profit businesses in Belfast. They can be used for working capital, interior improvements, and/or exterior improvements (including signage, painting, siding, awnings, lighting, and display windows). Businesses that receive assistance for working capital and/or interior improvements must have 5 or fewer employees, one of whom owns the enterprise and whose family income is ‘low-to-moderate’ (80% of the Waldo County median family income, indexed to family size). For businesses receiving assistance for exterior improvements, the improvements must take place in a designated slum/blight area, or be qualified on a ‘spot blight’ basis, which would be determined by the City’s Code Enforcement Officer.
According to Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge, “micro-businesses are numerous in Belfast, contributing a great deal to our area economy. The City is thrilled to be able to provide financial resources that will assist them in their growth and development, hopefully leading to future job growth and better sustainability. We would like to thank the many Belfast micro-businesses that shared their potential projects and their financial needs with us; this allowed us to document significant need for this type of funding, and it played a massive role in having our application ultimately approved. Our goal now is to deploy these funds effectively and efficiently.”
The next step in this process will be to establish an advisory committee that will finalize the guidelines for the program, reach out to potential applicants, review applications, and select the ultimate recipients of these funds. Members of the Belfast public who have an interest in serving on this committee are encouraged to contact Mr. Kittredge at this time. It is hoped that the recipient businesses will be chosen soon after the State of Maine receives its CDBG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in early July.
The CDBG program’s primary objective is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.