SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen this week approved a proposal seeking a downtown revitalization grant of up to $500,000 for improvements to the municipal parking lot.

If successful, the grant will bring combined grant money for the downtown municipal lot to close to $1 million.

Jeffrey Hewett, the town’s economic and community development director, said he is confident Skowhegan can make a case for the award because it is an ongoing project and there is only one such revitalization grant administered this year through the Community Development Block Grant program statewide.

Hewett said a $400,000 grant awarded to the town in October from the Communities for Maine’s Future program can be used as a local match for the new grant. State Department of Economic and Community Development officials will look favorably at Skowhegan’s matching money and be able to free some other grant money for smaller towns in the state.

“I’m hoping that it’s going to be an attractive, inviting area of town that is going to not only work with the public, but it will tie some of the businesses together,” Hewett said this week.

He said, if approved, this second round of grant applications would be used to replace catch basins, improve drainage, and pay for new paving and striping for 124 parking spots. There also will be parking spaces for tourist buses and tractor-trailers.

In the first round of grants, $400,000 was awarded to improve the municipal parking area with pedestrian walkways, street lighting, trees, green open areas and directional signs.

Hewett said the $500,000 in the second round originates at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is administered by the state through competitive grant programs such as this current one.

A public hearing on the grant application is set for 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10.

A short letter of intent from the town to the state is due a month later.

Within 60 days after that, the state will inform the town if the letter of intent has been accepted and if the town is eligible to apply for the grant award, at which time and a more detailed application will be written.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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