With the closure of downtown Damariscotta’s Cupacity at the end of November, $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds may go to another local business, pending the state’s approval.
Damariscotta was set to act as fiscal agent for the grant funds, receiving invoices and reimbursing Cupacity with that money. Now that Cupacity is closed, Max Johnstone, senior planning consultant for the Midcoast Council of Governments, is working on a new application so the $120,000 can be distributed to another local business that is interested. The business would have to provide matching funds of $60,000.
Johnstone declined to name the business at this stage since the application has not been officially submitted yet.
Community development block grants are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and are administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
The Damariscotta Select Board will also have to submit the application and hold another round of public hearings. The state will also have to review the documents again.
“However, we won’t have to wait as long for the reviews from the state since this would be the only application being reviewed,” Johnstone said in an email on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Johnstone said that because the town never submitted phase two documents and never drew down any of the grant funds, there is no penalty that will impact future Community Development Block Grant applications by Damariscotta.
Damariscotta Town Manager Andy Dorr updated the select board about the funds on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
“Nothing’s been spent yet,” Dorr said.
Also on Dec. 7, Geoff Keochakian, an abutting property owner of the site where a 74,500-square-foot 102-bed nursing facility is being proposed on Piper Mill Road, alerted the select board to the development that is taking place in the area and expressed his concerns.
He said that the nursing facility is set to be approved by the planning board. The same developer split off nine acres of that parcel for future development, possibly of another nursing facility, Keochakian said. There is also a pre-application for a 32-unit senior housing building that would be built behind the Ledgewood Court apartments that the planning board is currently considering.
He said he does not believe that the 74,500-square-foot nursing facility fits the spirit of the village expansion area, as defined by the 2014 comprehensive plan, where it is being proposed.
“This parking lot alone is larger than the whole Ledgewood facility now,” Keochakian said. “The traffic potential is catastrophic, in my opinion.”
The Damariscotta Select Board will next meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21.