Category Archives: News & Updates

Municipal Solar Guidance

Municipal solar guidance. As a reminder, several Maine nonprofits, engineers, and solar developers have developed new resources to help Maine towns invest in and benefit from municipal solar. These materials were mailed to all Maine town managers and planning board chairs in early September. Another resource for municipal governments interested in investing in solar is the US Department of Energy’s SolSmart program. The program offers free technical assistance to communities who can become SolSmart designated by meeting certain criteria. The program team has also produced hundreds of resources that are perfect for local governments who are just trying to learn more about solar. To date, nearly 400 communities have been Solsmart designated, but Maine is one of just 7 states that have no designated communities. If you know of a community that you think might be interested in SolSmart, please refer them to Toyah Barigye at

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Help Build Maine’s STEM Workforce

GOOD NEWS for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals who want to live and work in Maine:

Applications are now being accepted through November 15, 2020 for up to $60,000 in student loan debt relief for professionals who live in or relocate to Maine and are employed by a Maine-based business in the STEM-related fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The program, funded by the Harold Alfond Foundation and administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), is known as Alfond Leaders. It assists Maine employers in attracting and retaining talented STEM professionals by providing student loan repayment assistance of up to $60,000 per recipient. Payment of the debt relief award is made directly to a recipient’s student loan servicer. Payments are made once at the end of three years of qualifying residency and employment and again at the end of a subsequent three-year period of qualifying residency and employment.

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2020 Training & Events

Maine Development Foundation / Maine Downtown Center

  • March 4, 2020 -9:00 to 11:00 a.m. – Panel Discussion on “The Story Matters: Telling Our Story in a Compelling Way”
  • April 14, 2020 – 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. – Webinar Series / Attracting & Training Volunteers
  • May 12, 2020 – 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. – Webinar Series / Building Event Partners and Expanding Events
  • May 18 – 20, 2020 – National Main Street Conference in Dallas, Texas

Maine Community Development Association

  • April 9, 2020 – 10:00 a.m. – MCDA General Membership Meeting

News from Around the State – January, 2020

Maine Department of Transportation: MDOT’s 3-Year plan represents $2.59 billion in spending, up 6% from the previous 3-Year plan. Over the next three years, MDOT’s work plan includes approximately 2,000 projects, which will include 148 bridge projects and 171 miles of highway construction and/or rehabilitation. The biggest project in the new plan is the replacement of the Madawaska-Edmundston bridge at an estimated cost of $84.6 million. The 928 foot- long span, built in 1920, crosses the St. John River and provides a vital link for residents and businesses in both Maine and New Brunswick.

‘100,000 Heat Pump Initiative’: The initiative signed into law last year is designed to ease the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. Rebates took effect January 1, 2020. There are two rebate categories:

  • Tier 1 Rebates are eligible for a $500 rebate for the first indoor unit and $250 for a second indoor or outdoor unit and
  • Tier 2 Rebates are for high-performance pumps that meet new Efficiency Maine standards. Rebates increased from $500 to $1,000 for the first indoor unit installed and $250 to $500 for the second indoor or outdoor unit.
  • The initiative provides $2,000 rebates for homeowners who receives LIHEAP.

‘Welcome Initiative’: The Machias Valley News Observer reported this new initiative that works to draw new workforce to Washington County. Mano en Mano and Sunrise County Economic Council are partnering to grow the year-round workforce in Washington County by building affordable housing for seasonal workers.

The Town of Richmond held a public hearing to renew the Pipeline Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. The TIF is a program that allows cities and towns to shield new value from development from calculations to preserve the amount of state aid for education and revenue sharing they receive from state government and the county tax assessments, saving residents some money. The TIF returns a portion of that sheltered property tax revenue to a developer whose project increased the value. It is a common economic development incentive. Under the town’s proposal, town officials would capture all the value of the TIF district, which would total about $8.3 million over the next 10 years.

Maine Forest Service: The Maine Forest Service is seeking public input on its Maine’s 2020 Forest Action Plan. The plan includes an assessment of current forest conditions and trends as well as identify threats and concerns. The plan also establishes priorities and provides strategies for addressing both issues and ways to invest state, federal and other partner resources in ways that successfully addressed identified management and landscape priorities.

August 2019 – News from Around the State

Tracey Steuber, MCDA’s Vice President, is leaving her position in Lisbon after 6 years as Lisbon’s Economic and Community Development Director and will begin her new position as Gardiner’s new Planning and Economic Director on August 5, 2019. MCDA congratulates Tracey on her new position!

Nancy Ketch, MCDA Board Member is the Town of Houlton’s Community Development Director. The Town was recently selected to join the Downtown Revitalization Roadmap Program. The Roadmap Program is a planning process that involves downtown visioning, downtown assessment, and outlines strategic recommendations for short and long-term goals. Houlton is one of seventeen Maine Downtown Affiliates and one in four in Aroostook County. Congratulations Nancy and the Town of Houlton!

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected for this project to benefit Houlton’s beautiful historic Downtown,” says Nancy Ketch, Houlton’s Community Development Director. “We extend our sincere thanks to the Maine Downtown Center for making this opportunity available to our community. The timing seems absolutely perfect for us to participate in this type of a process. We are looking forward to getting underway and encourage the public to get involved.”