Greenville resolution to benefit climate change project funding
GREENVILLE — A workshop related to an opportunity to seek state funding from a $4.75 million pool earmarked for projects to help mitigate the effects of climate change took place Jan. 15, at the Bartley Family’s Event Center.
The Greenville Select Board took the next step toward securing some of these funds for the town and/or the neighboring communities of Beaver Cove and Shirley by signing a community resilience partnership resolution during a Jan. 19 meeting.
Town Manager Mike Roy said the Jan. 15 workshop had about 20 attendees. “The goal here is to pick three important energy saving topics that are important to you,” he said about a survey workshop participants filled out.
In November town officials learned more from Eastern Maine Development Corporation Community Resilience Specialist Laurie Osher about efforts to provide integrated services that boost businesses, communities and individual people in its coverage area to accelerate economic development and strengthen the economy.
She gave an example of towns needing to buy more road salt because warmer temperatures cause snow to melt and refreeze into ice. Funds are available that can be used toward the additional surface treatment.
She said $4.75 million is part of the “Maine Won’t Wait” state action program to address climate change, and there are no matching requirements for awarded community action grants.
Funding categories include engaging and educating community members, weatherizing existing buildings, supporting sustainable construction, protecting public health, installing heat pumps and LED lighting, protecting and conserving land and water, supporting and installing renewable energy projects and managing flood risks.
Municipalities can apply for grants every six months.
In order to apply, towns must first join EMDC in a community resilience partnership. To do this, a workshop will help determine priorities, via survey information. Community assessments will be determined, and the town needs a resolution declaring interest and agreeing to become a partnership member.
Towns can receive additional funding, for a total of up to $125,000, through collaboration with other communities. Osher has met with the Shirley Select Board and ideally projects in the Moosehead Lake region would benefit Greenville, Shirley, Beaver Cove and nearby Unorganized Territories. Applications are due by late March. Roy and Osher will work on the document.
In other business, the select board met with three members of American Legion Post 94’s veterans memorial committee.
“We’re in the very early steps of trying to put a new monument up there,” David Slagger said. “Let’s say it could look better.”
Slagger mentioned that some of the 900-plus names on the downtown monument have corroded, and can’t really be fixed. Plus maple trees have grown up and obstruct the flag poles, which are not in the best shape. He said the committee plans to work with Lary Funeral Home and Piscataquis Monumental, which worked with Monson on the town’s new veterans monument.
The Monson monument was funded through private money and the same would likely be done in Greenville. “Irregardless it’s going to be very expensive,” Slagger said, saying the project would likely be at least two years in the future since the committee is only in the earliest planning stages.
He said the American Legion would also like to add more names of veterans who have served in the last two decades.
“I know the community’s behind it 100 percent, no question,” Selectperson Richard Peat said.
“We are anxiously awaiting our price for the public safety building,” Roy said. He said the building committee will go over financials and then present it to the select board.
The Greenville Public Safety Building will house the fire and police departments to help with current outdated spaces and building code violations. It will be built at the site of the fire station on Minden Street, across from the town office, and will include a community room for public use.
The project recently received a $902,000 boost as part of federal appropriations bills.
Residents approved up to $5,150,000 in bonds at the annual town meeting in June to finance surveys, demolition, construction and related expenditures for the structure. The bond is expected to be issued in May, with plans to repay it over the course of 15 years, according to the warrant article.
Roy said he received a call about someone interested in a garage door from the old fire station. Roy said the structure would be demolished, and he is checking with the Maine Municipal Association to see if it is possible to have a liability waiver for anyone interested in purchasing material they could salvage.
The town manager said he has met with Greenville Consolidated School Superintendent Kelly MacFadyen and Jennifer Clark of the Moosehead Caring for Kids Foundation on the Greenville Little School House Childcare, Pre-K and Community Center. Last month $1.5 million in federal funding was secured with the passage of the 2023 omnibus spending bill.
“We are calling it a multi-function or a new community building,” Roy said as the facility will house a childcare center, pre-K classrooms, and a community recreation center. The project will have its own committee.
Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation President Margarita Contreni said a group from the Northern Forest Center would be in town on Feb. 1 to host roundtables to begin planning to bring workforce housing to the area.
Given recent real estate trends, the town of Greenville has been experiencing a lack of available middle-income housing. Many homes put on the market are quickly purchased to serve as Airbnbs or second homes, and designed lower-income housing has strict residency requirements that precludes younger workers from living there.
The Northern Forest Center is working to bring middle-income housing to the community as has been done in Millinocket and Lancaster, New Hampshire. The organization — which brings innovation and investment to strengthen communities and shape an economy that sustains both people and nature across four states — has joined with the town of Greenville, Northern Light CA Dean Hospital/Northern Light Health and the Moosehead Lake Regional Economic Development Corp. to develop a housing unit on 5-plus acres on Spruce Street off Pritham Avenue to help remedy the housing issues near Moosehead Lake.
Contreni said water and sewer infrastructure would be the biggest challenge, because funding would be needed to extend these lines up Spruce Street.