In addition to long-overdue investments to protect human health, fight the climate emergency, and meet our trust obligations to tribal nations, the Appropriations Bill for FY22 directly funds projects that enrich our communities for the first time in more than a decade. From projects focused on climate action and supporting Maine’s lobster fishery, to community health and resource programs, this funding prioritizes widely supported projects that make the biggest difference in the lives of Mainers.
Maine Department of Marine Resources (Augusta, Maine) – $765,000
With this funding, DMR will develop an extensive outreach and education strategy to engage fishermen and develop common understanding across Maine’s lobster industry about the status of right whales and new regulations from NOAA. Facilitated discussions will inform the development of principles to guide future management actions that will be initiated to meet risk reduction targets of the Conservation Framework. The Maine lobster fishery provides $1.5B in revenue to the state through its direct supply chain, and thousands of jobs. Over the next decade, regulatory actions to protect right whales are going to require the fishery to significantly change its operations. These changes are expected to have far-reaching impacts throughout the supply chain and related shoreside industries, as well as coastal communities. Planning for the future of this fishery is critical to the economic survival and resilience of Maine’s coastal economy.
This funding will support the final phase of restoration, historic preservation, and maintenance of the Abyssinian Meeting House in Portland, the first site in Maine to be designated by the National Park Service as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Funds will also preserve and promote the cultural heritage of African-Americans in Maine. This final restoration phase will include the design and construction of the building’s interior, including design and installation of the museum exhibit space; building mechanicals, plumbing, HVAC, and other utilities; office, community, conference, and educational space; technology for onsite and distance live-streaming program collaboration; and ADA compliance. Planned community education programming, exhibitions, and humanities endeavors rely on the historic restoration of the building's interior.
The Maine Climate Science Information Exchange (formerly the Maine Climate Coordination Center) will serve as a coordination hub to share climate science research and build relationships to support the implementation of Maine’s Climate Action Plan.
4-H Innovation Lab and Learning Center (Bridgton, Maine) – $450,000
This funding will allow Maine 4-H Foundation to purchase the Magic Lantern Theater in Bridgton, ME, keep it operating as a theater and pub, and transform it into an Innovation Lab and Learning Center. By continuing to operate, the Magic Lantern will generate funding to support the Innovation Lab and Learning Center programming. The goals of the Center include engaging 3,000 – 4,000 students annually for STEAM activities, raising student performance in Bridgton and surrounding Cumberland and Oxford county communities, and creating stronger economic development conditions for companies and organizations that need talented employees. While Maine 4-H operates a number of learning centers across Maine, Bridgton and its surrounding communities do not currently have a resource like this for the students that this Center will serve.
Vinalhaven Downtown Sewer and Water Project – $1,410,000
This funding would be used for the STAG-eligible components of Vinalhaven’s Downtown Project, to include: upgrading stormwater infrastructure and renovating and improving the sewer system along Main Street to prevent flooding of businesses, street, and parking areas, as well as addressing critical upgrades and resilience adaptations to the wastewater treatment system. These actions would bolster the long-term resilience of Maine’s largest inhabited year round island community and protect Vinalhaven’s economic foundation and marine and tourism industries.
Milestone Recovery’s Substance Use Treatment Services (Portland, Maine) – $690,000
This funding will support Milestone’s substance use services, including the expansion of its inpatient medical detoxification program and the establishment of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Milestone operates the only detox program in Maine’s First District that admits clients who are uninsured or underinsured, and must often turn away dozens of clients a day. The IOP would further help to serve clients who are unable to access detox and provide long-term recovery support care for those who need it after completing detox.
Harry E. Davis Partnership for Children’s Oral Health’s statewide Virtual Dental Homes (Yarmouth, Maine) – $650,000
This funding would launch a network of Virtual Dental Homes, a community-based oral health care delivery system in which children become established patients with a dental practice but receive their preventive care and early intervention in school and primary care settings without having to travel to the dental office for appointments unless they need more complex treatment.
City of Augusta's Project Recovery Pilot Program – $265,000
This funding would establish a pilot program to connect people with immediate substance use disorder treatment resources and support their reintegration into the community after treatment. Modeled on successful projects elsewhere in Maine, Project Recovery uses a unified approach to recovery that will draw on the public health focus of the City of Augusta Fire/EMT Department to leverage resources in harm reduction and treatment as well as job training and placement, housing, and other forms of critical support.
Eastern Trails Management District Planning Project (Saco, Maine) – $700,000
Funding will support the engineering design of an 11-mile section of planned multi-use recreation trail and active transportation corridor between Kennebunk, Wells, and North Berwick. The proposed project will support the development of an active transportation corridor and recreational trail that offers significant social, economic and environmental benefits. In 2018, the existing 22 miles of off-road trail from South Portland to Kennebunk had 250,000 users and provided millions of dollars in local community investment.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, right, gestures towards the check she presented during Friday’s event. (Left: Kristine Keeney, East Coast Greenway Alliance Northern New England Manager; Center: Mike Pardue, Kennebunk Town Manager)
York County Shelter Programs' Community Resource Center (Alfred, Maine) – $325,000
This funding will allow York County Shelter Programs to purchase and rehabilitate a property that is centrally located in Sanford to use as a one-stop Community Resource Center. The site will provide meals for over 3,000 low-income and food insecure households each month, financial counseling services and eviction prevention for over 300 households per month, application assistance for mainstream resources for over 100 households per month, community AA and NA meetings that will support the large number of community residents in recovery, community policing resources that will bring more outreach and security to the community, community coordination of resources for more than 50 homeless households per month, and vocational training programs that will improve employment opportunities for dozens of trainees each year.