Wilton officials are looking for input from the public about improvements people would like to see in the downtown.

The town is one of four Maine communities in contention for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant. The grant can be used for downtown improvement projects in areas considered economically challenged. A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 17, as part of the grant application process.

The grant application is being developed by Town Manager Rhonda Irish and the town’s development consultant, Richmond-based Darryl Sterling.

The money would come from a CDBG administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Irish said the grant requires a $100,000 matching contribution from successful applicant. But, she said, if Wilton is awarded the money, the town could match the money with in-kind options such as previously budgeted community improvement projects or with the cost of a planned state paving project in the town.

Fort Kent, Rockland and Lisbon have also applied for the block grant. The public hearing is required by the process of preparing the application, which is due in mid-April.

Wilton’s application will propose using the funding to improve their streetscape infrastructure. Irish said examples of possible uses for the money include sidewalks, lighting, improvements along storefronts, benches and bike racks, and updating parking lots.

The focus on the downtown is part of a three-year-long effort to improve the downtown.

The grant is be one of Sterling’s first projects since being hired to consult on economic development projects under a six-month contract with the possibility of a contract extension.

The public hearing will be held 7 p.m. March 17 before the regular selectboard meeting. Residents can also call or email the town office with their ideas and priorities for improving downtown.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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