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APRIL 2023 NEWSLETTER

Dear all,


We hope spring has been treating you well. We have a long newsletter this month, but it is full of good material. We hope you enjoy!


Funding Available


Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC)

The NBRC has announced their 2023 Catalyst Program application opportunity. The Catalyst Program, formerly known as the State Economic & Infrastructure Development (SEID) program, has been a great source for Knox and Waldo County communities to receive up to $1 million in funding for projects designed to stimulate economic growth. In the past, communities in our region have successfully applied to this program to improve their working waterfronts, downtowns, and replace vital utilities. This program has a wide variety of uses, and we encourage the communities in Knox and Waldo counties to reach out and learn more about this program in case you have a great project that just needs a funding source. For communities in Lincoln County: there is some work being done in the federal legislature that could allow you to be eligible for this funding next year, so it would be good to keep this in mind in case the Maine delegation is successful with their efforts.

Questions regarding eligibility (entity and use of funds) must be directed to admin@nbrc.gov as NBRC makes the final determination of eligibility. Following the determination of eligibility from NBRC, the next steps are to:

· Review program materials and LOI form, available here: https://www.nbrc.gov/content/Catalyst

· Attend upcoming virtual information session for applicants, a video recording of the session will be made available:

· Monday, April 3, 2023, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrc-mrqTIiGNOZnx_byQddzqwHJ4QErbqh

· Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkdumqrzstHN3JtNBfL-3F1sx5Ad_jYLOj

· Contact the technical assistance provider for your region: Matt Eddy, Midcoast Council of Governments (MCOG) at meddy@midcoastcog.com

· Schedule a time to meet with our team at the State of Maine to discuss your project. Available times for this week are below, please let us know if either time works for you:

· 4/7 at 11 AM or 11:30 AM

· As your project relates to outdoor recreation, I encourage you to contact Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation and resource for Maine organizations and businesses: Carolann.Ouellette@maine.gov

If you have a project that would be ideal for this program, please keep in mind that you must submit a Letter of Interest by April 21 at 5pm. The draft form can be found here:

New Business Recovery Program, includes $50k grants

As part of Midcoast Council of Government’s Hub of Excellence initiative, we will be administering a new economic development program: the New Business Recovery Grants and Technical Assistance Program. The funding for this program comes from Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development to help the roughly14,000 businesses started or acquired in the State since the start of 2020. MCOG will be managing this program for the Midcoast region which includes all or part of Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Cumberland, and Waldo counties. Eligible entities are businesses or nonprofits that have a location in the MCOG region, started or were acquired on or after January 1, 2020, have fewer than 250 employees, and are in good standing with the State of Maine.

The New Business Recovery Grants program will offer one-time stabilization grants of up to $50,000 to new businesses that experienced serious pandemic-related disruptions or were not able to take advantage of previous pandemic-related recovery aid. The New Business Recovery Technical Assistance program will provide advising services to businesses and nonprofits to facilitate recovery and growth. Through a partnership between MCOG and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., this assistance will include advising services to newly formed businesses and nonprofits to access pandemic recovery and other economic development programs. In addition, advising will be provided to assist businesses and nonprofits owned and operated by racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. Finally, entrepreneurial training will provide business owners with the skills to withstand the impacts of the pandemic and sustain their business models for the future.

The initial application period will open April 21, 2023 and close June 1, 2023 with additional application periods occurring through the end of 2024.

For more information visit the MCOG website (www.midcoastcog.com) or email hub@midcoastcog.com.

Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Opportunity

Interested in public EV chargers for your community? This large-scale federal grant program could be the right opportunity, especially for a county-wide or multi-municipality project. The intent of this program is to support projects which “strategically deploy EV charging and other alternative vehicle-fueling infrastructure projects in publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities, as well as along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs).” The program is broken down into Community Grants and Corridor Grants:

Community Grants:

• Located on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations, such as parking facilities at public buildings, public schools, and public parks, or in publicly accessible parking facilities owned or managed by a private entity.

• Must be publicly accessible.

• May use funds to contract with a private entity.

• Minimum award amount of $500,000, maximum award amount of $15 million.

• Must address environmental justice.

• Expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to expand or fill gaps in access to publicly accessible infrastructure.

• Must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Corridor Grants:

• Located along a designated AFC; EV charging within 1 mile and other alternative fuels within 5 miles of the AFC.

• Must be publicly accessible.

• Minimum award amount of $1 million, no maximum award amount.

• Must use funds to contract with a private entity.

• Must address environmental justice.

• Must be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

Cost share/matching: maximum of 80% Federal funds

Type of Award: Cost Reimbursement Grant

Submission Deadline: Applications are due not later than 11:59 PM EST on MAY 30, 2023, through Grants.gov.

USDA to Hold Webinars on Changes to Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Following Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced two virtual events that will provide updates on funding available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). REAP funds may be used to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems or to make energy-efficiency improvements.

The webinars will be held over Zoom and will be led by USDA staff.

Upcoming Webinars:

To learn more, read the full REAP Webinars Stakeholder Announcement.

MCOG News

MCOG Adds Capacity to Support Planning in Waldo County

Adi Philson of Searsmont has joined MCOG’s team to support community and transportation planning in Waldo County. MCOG has begun its outreach to provide services to Brooks, Waldo, Knox, Jackson, Monroe, Swanville, Searsport, Stockton Springs, Belfast, Northport, Lincolnville, Belmont, Searsmont, Montville, Liberty, Morrill, and Islesboro. MCOG’s goal is to provide regional coordination, resources, and workshops, as well as technical assistance in planning to Waldo County Communities.

As part of this initiative, we are formally kicking off our activities with a Waldo County Planning Coordination Meeting Wednesday, April 12th 2023, 5:30PM-7:00PM to discuss communities’ needs and priorities, opportunities for communities to work together, as well as upcoming funding opportunities. This meeting will be open to all town officials, selectboard members, and planning board members. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to attend, please contact Adi Philson: aphilson@midcoastcog.com.

Welcome Adi Philson to the MCOG Team!

Adi joins the team with a background in Active Transportation Planning and Community Engagement, having previously worked for the City of Cambridge, MA’s Environmental & Transportation Planning division, before returning to Maine. Adi’s planning practice is informed by her varied and unique experience: from neuroscience research and engineering to teaching bicycle literacy classes and Public Health work in Cambodia.

Growing up in Maine, Adi witnessed and experienced some of the rapid developments Maine has undergone in the past three decades. She returned to Maine in 2022, determined to play a role in sculpting that growth and building opportunities for young Mainers. Above all, Adi is committed to working with Maine communities and passionate about building a resilient and equitable future for her home state. She and her boyfriend are based in Waldo County where they are working on rehabbing an old truck garage into a workshop and home. Adi enjoys bike camping, Maine fiddle music, ice fishing, and jigging for mackerel in Belfast Bay.

Rising Tides - Safe Roads, Working Waterfronts, Protected History

MCOG is assisting St. George in undertaking a unique engineering study to address flooding roads and impacts to the town’s historic places caused by rising seas. Focusing on ten sites, this project will help residents understand the challenges and visualize solutions. At the same time, MCOG is helping to gather information on the important economic and community value of St. George’s local fishing and aquaculture activities and how sea level rise and increasingly severe storms impact the working waterfronts. Planning now will save time and money later! Check out the Video Overview.

MCOG is launching a new website!

We have been hard at work the last couple of months redesigning our website to better serve our communities and stakeholders. The website is set to launch in early April and will include lots of new information and resources with a more accessible user interface. Our website address will remain the same www.midcoastcog.com. If you have any feedback once we launch the new website, please contact Adi Philson (aphilson@midcoastcog.com).

The Town of Thomaston Engages MCOG’s Services

The Town of Thomaston has engaged MCOG to provide planning services for the remainder of their fiscal year (through July 1). These services will include assisting the Town with their existing TIF district programs to develop amendments in time for the Town Meeting and the creation of an annual budget for revenue captured through the TIF districts. One primary focus of the work will be to support development of affordable housing through the leverage of TIF revenue as well as an application for funds to the Northern Border Regional Commission. In addition, MCOG will continue to work with the Town to build consensus and make progress regarding the Thomaston Green site and provide other ad hoc services as may be required.

Other

Darling Marine Center Shellfish Aquaculture Workshop—Application Open

Diving into Shellfish Aquaculture is an intensive, hands-on workshop intended to familiarize students with practical methods used to cultivate commercially important bivalve mollusks including oysters, mussels, clams and scallops. Students will become familiar with bivalve hatchery methods, algae production and measuring water quality. Students will be exposed to upweller and nursery operations and visit commercial oyster, mussel and clam farms. An emphasis on identification of optimal aquaculture sites will include extensive use of instrumentation, GIS and field survey methods. The regulations such as leasing, permitting, public health and biosecurity will also be addressed. Applications and more information can be found here.

Climate Resiliency HUB Survey

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s Bureau of Resource Information and Land Use Planning is developing an interactive, online tool that is based on the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Outcomes Tool (CAROT), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

You’re invited to complete a 5-minute survey to help us design an interactive, online tool to help communities develop implementation metrics for climate planning. This survey is for anyone who is involved or interested in climate/resilience planning in Maine, from volunteer committee members to municipal staff, to organizations providing technical support to towns. You do not have to have participated in a climate action planning process to participate in the survey. Your responses will help us design the most user-friendly, accessible tool possible.

Click on this link: Maine Climate Resilience Hub Survey. Please share this link with anyone else who may be interested in participating. Thanks in advance for helping us get the word out, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading! Know someone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter? Pass along this form for them to fill out and they will be included in the next newsletter.


All the best,

The MCOG Team

Mathew Eddy, Brian Dancause, Meg Rasmussen, Max Johnstone, Adi Philson, Michael Martone, and Charlotte Nutt

165 Main Street, Suite F

PO Box 62

Damariscotta, ME 04543

207-209-4129

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