Cumberland County towns, cities get community development grants

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PORTLAND — Cumberland County towns and cities will receive $3.2 million in federal Community Development Block Grants in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The Cumberland County CDBG program received almost $1.4 million, according to a June 27 press release, while Portland officials expect $1.8 million. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is passed through either the state Department of Economic Development or county government. 

The money is used for economic development, housing and social service programs throughout the county and Portland. Cumberland County CDBG Director Maeve Pistrang noted Brunswick participates in the state CDBG program.

On June 23, the Brunswick Housing Authority announced it received a $1 million CDBG grant to fund improvements to Perryman Village, a 50-unit housing townhouse complex near Cook’s Corner.

For countywide spending, Opportunity Alliance received $200,000, with $150,000 of it allocated to housing rehabilitation and the remainder for homelessness prevention programs.

The largest recipient outside of Portland is South Portland, which will get $400,000 for “various public services and public facility/infrastructure improvements,” according to the press release. Bridgton will receive almost $181,000 for a variety of projects and services.

In Standish, the century-old Steep Falls Public Library received $150,000 to improve accessibility for all patrons.

The Scarborough Police Department’s Operation Hope program, which has placed more than 250 people with opioid addictions in treatment programs, received a $33,000 block grant.

In Harpswell, the town’s Aging at Home repair program received $62,000, and another $62,000 grant was made for repairs to the Orr’s/Bailey Island fire house.

Portland block grants, approved by city councilors in April, will include $806,000 for development activities, $626,600 for social services and $405,000 for the administration of programs.

The city is also using $195,000 for reprogrammed and existing programs in its spending plans.

Development activities include $210,000 for sidewalk improvements on Oxford Street and $111,000 for the city’s Economic Development Business Assistance Development Department Program for Job Creation.

CDBG social service funding includes $150,000 to help fund city Community Policing staff and $130,000 to assist the Milestone Foundation and Greater Portland Health with their collaborative outreach to provide medical attention to the city’s homeless population.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.