PORTLAND — Franklin, Somerset and Kennebec counties among the target areas of a commission that awards up to $200,000 in grants to help spur development in economically distressed areas of northern Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

The Northern Border Regional Commission is accepting applications for a new round of federal grants and says it expects to award about $1.2 million by the end of this summer. The maximum single grant will be $200,000.

Since the first grants went out in 2010, the commission has awarded 21 grants totaling more than $3.6 million, said Sandy Blitz, federal co-chairman of the commission.

In Maine, last year, communities in the St. John Valley received $250,000 for expanded tourism and economic development.

In 2011, Van Buren got $200,000 for a vegetable processint plant and the Northern Maine Finance Corp. in Caribou got $50,000 for business loans that would help create jobs.

The commission was created in the 2008 Farm Bill.

State and local governments, nonprofit organizations and Native American entities are eligible to apply for projects such as infrastructure development, job skills training, health care services and renewable energy. Applicants have to be in one of 36 counties across the northern stretches of the four states that are designated as distressed.

The region covers 14 counties in New York (Cayuga, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Oswego, Seneca and St. Lawrence), six counties in Vermont (Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans), four counties in New Hampshire (Carroll, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan), and 12 counties in Maine (Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Waldo and Washington).

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