BANGOR — USDA Rural Development is investing more than $500,000 in seven organizations through the Rural Business Development Grant. These funds will promote economic development activities in rural Maine communities.

Acting Maine State Director Higgins said, “This USDA Rural Development investment helps fund a wide variety of economic development projects and benefits Maine businesses, while creating and retaining jobs in communities across the state. These grants will support farms, provide training to Native American businesses, assist with the purchase of trail grooming equipment, and more,” according to a news release from the USDA.

Seven Maine organizations will receive a total of $539,053 in Rural Business Development Grant funds:

• Eastern Maine Development Corporation in Bangor received $32,388, to be used to help Eastern Maine Development Corporation conduct a feasibility study for a meat slaughter and processing facility. This assistance will ultimately benefit the farmers and independent producers that are members of Perseco LLC.

• Sunrise County Economic Council in Machias received $99,900, to be used to purchase furniture and other equipment for the Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship. The center will have shared working space, open co-working stations, shared office equipment, a kitchen area and offer training and programming activities for small businesses. Sunrise County Economic County will assist seven business and create two full-time equivalent jobs.

• Arnold Trail Snowmobile Network in Eustis received $125,500, to be used to purchase snowmobile trail grooming equipment which will replace an old and maintenance heavy trail groomer. This equipment is vital to the winter economy and ensures continued access to businesses during the winter months. The project will assist 13 business and save 20 full-time equivalent jobs.

• Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford received $22,212, to be used to purchase alpine trail grooming equipment that will replace an old maintenance heavy groomer. Black Mountain is vital to Rumford’s winter economy and plays a major role in its economic development. The mountain’s historic reputation and skier events are vital to Rumford being able to attract a new Best Western Hotel to the area. Black Mountain of Maine will assist nine businesses.

• City of Caribou received $95,000, to be used to purchase snowmobile trail grooming equipment which will replace an old and maintenance heavy trail groomer. This equipment is vital to the winter economy and ensures continued access to businesses during the winter months. Caribou will assist 21 business and save 15 full-time equivalent jobs.

• Four Directions Development Corporation in Orono received $92,500, to be used to help Four Directions Development Corporation provide one-on-one, on-reservation, technical assistance. This assistance will be available to Native American business owners, both existing and start-up, across Maine. Four Directions Development Corporations will assist 12 businesses and help create 15 jobs.

• Catholic Charities Maine in Portland received $71,553, to be used by Catholic Charities Maine to purchase a machine to floret broccoli and lease it to W.R. Allen in Orland. This equipment allows W.R. Allen to diversify its current processing abilities and provide an additional revenue stream. Catholic Charities will assist five businesses throughout the state and create 57 jobs.

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Development Grant Program provides grants to entities such as towns, communities and nonprofits for economic development. For more information, contact Ivana Hernandez Clukey, Business & Cooperative Services loan specialist, at 207-990-9127 or [email protected].

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