Dover-Foxcroft utilizing COVID-19 grant
DOVER-FOXCROFT — During the summer the town of Dover-Foxcroft was awarded an approximate $255,000 grant through the Keep Maine Healthy COVID-19 Awareness Campaign to help cover unexpected costs for the community and other Piscataquis County towns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal funds — nearly $9 million across about 100 municipalities — are distributed by the state on a reimbursement basis made available for communities to take steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 during this year’s tourist season. Potential steps include buying signage, personal protective equipment, barriers and more to be carried out through late October, and must include a business education component where the town can conduct outreach to businesses and the public. The Dover-Foxcroft application sought $255,000 to be split between the town and eligible partners within Piscataquis County.
“I think it’s fair to say there is a lot of utilization of these funds,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said during a Sept. 14 selectmen’s meeting in the Morton Avenue Municipal Building Gymnasium (the first in-person session in about six months). He said the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce has worked to help get the word out and encourage entities to apply.
“I think we will reach our goal of getting these grants out before the end of the grant period, which is the end of October,” Clukey said.
Piscataquis County organizations and municipalities have been invited to apply for a portion of the grant funding — monies are split evenly between Dover-Foxcroft and other recipients.
A portion of the Dover-Foxcroft Keep Maine Healthy COVID-19 Awareness Campaign funds will be used to install an electronic sign — to be operational in the near future — in front of the police station on East Main Street to share information with the community and to feature messages such as encouraging everyone to wear masks and social distance and thanking them for their efforts.
The selectmen approved the use of grant funds, the amount is to be determined, to cover pre-paid postage for the return of absentee ballots.
Clukey said the administrative committee met on Aug. 12 and made this recommendation after researching to see if grant funds could be used for ballot return.
In his report Clukey said, “Last week myself, some other town staff and MDOT staff met at the Dead River building and got to go in.”
Clukey said the town will be able to salvage items from the structure at the corner of East Main and South streets and can assist in the removal of the building. The goal is to have it removed, to aid in alleviating traffic congestion, and the site regraded by the end of the year or early 2021.
“We will be trying to get some of that stuff out over the next month or so,” the town manager said.
Select Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cyr said after speaking with citizens she spoke with Clukey about the high number of deer/vehicle accidents on Summer Street.
“We have had somewhere between 15 and 20 deer strikes this year,” Police Chief Ryan Reardon said. He said some residents have been feeding the animals, and the town is working with the Maine Warden Service to address this issue. In the meantime speed limit signs have been gone up to reduce speeding on the new asphalt.
“I just wanted to appreciate that, it was a real quick response,” Freeman Cyr said.