Families shop Saturday, Dec. 2, on Water Street in downtown Skowhegan during SKOW-Whoville 2023 activities. Jake Freudberg/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — A central Maine coalition of organizations and businesses got word this week of receiving more than $425,000 through a federal grant that will allow it to compete for up to $50 million in funding next year.

Main Street Skowhegan, the nonprofit that’s leading the coalition, will use the funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to further develop a regional development plan, according to its president and chief executive officer, Kristina Cannon.

With the award of this grant, the coalition is now one of 22 finalists in the country that will apply in April for grants averaging $20 to $50 million, according to a news release this week.

The coalition’s plan, called the Revitalization of Central Maine Recompete Plan, brings together more than a dozen organizations and employers that are working on a variety of strategies to foster economic growth in central Maine, according to Cannon.

“Our strategies for regional growth and resilience rely on more than just traditional solutions; they are comprehensive, community-centric, and asset-based,” Cannon said in a news release.

Those strategies focus on issues including career training programs, infrastructure and addiction support, Cannon said in an email.


Along with Main Street Skowhegan, organizations in the coalition include the town of Skowhegan; Skowhegan Economic Development Corporation; Somerset Economic Development Corporation; Central Maine Growth Council; Kennebec Valley Council of Governments; Central Western Maine Workforce Development Board; Kennebec Valley Community College; and Pathways to Recovery Consortium.

Employers include Sappi North America; New Balance; Redington-Fairview General Hospital; Maine Grains; and The Good Crust.

Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden, along with U.S. Department of Commerce officials, offered their praise for the Skowhegan-area project in a news release.

“(The plan) can be summed up in one word: potential,” King said in a statement. “The Recompete project in Skowhegan represents untapped potential for a workforce, a community, and local economy – all they need is a kickstart to help them get their economic engine running on all cylinders.”

The funds awarded this week come from the EDA’s Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program, according to a news release. The Recompete program was authorized to spend up to $1 billion under the CHIPS and Science Act, passed in 2022.

The program is part of the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to promote economic growth across the country, officials said.


“Recompete helps fulfill President Biden’s promise that no community in America will be left behind as we continue to grow our nation’s economy and invest in American workers,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

This week’s Recompete grant is the latest in federal and state funds awarded to Main Street Skowhegan, which has been working on several projects in the Skowhegan area.

In 2022, nearly $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act was earmarked for its River Park project.

Last month, the organization was awarded $484,500 by the state to develop a regional tourism brand for the Skowhegan-Waterville area. It also received nearly $100,000 toward its shared commercial kitchen project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story