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Posted on: May 29, 2018

Cumberland County Commissioners’ “Summer Tour” meeting in Harpswell

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HARPSWELL -- The Cumberland County Commissioners will hold their second “Summer Tour” meeting at the Bailey Island Library Hall on Monday, June 11 at 6pm.

WHAT: Cumberland County Commissioners’ “Summer Tour” Monthly Meeting
WHO: Cumberland County Commissioners
WHERE: Bailey Island Library Hall, Harpswell
WHEN: Monday, June 11, 6pm - 7pm

District 3 Commissioner Stephen Gorden will host the full board of county commissioners, staff, local elected officials and members of the public during the commissioners' monthly meeting and facility tour. The commissioners normally meet on the second Monday of each month at the County Courthouse in Portland, represented by Commissioner James Cloutier. During the “2018 Summer Tour,” the other four commissioners will each host a meeting within their district, at a site where Federal Community Development Block Grant funding has been applied to a recent or upcoming project.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It provides annual grants on a formula basis for development projects that improve community spaces and boost economic development, with a focus on low- to moderate-income residents.

Through a unique regional compact, Cumberland County government administers the grant program for 25 cities and towns within the county. HUD issues an annual allotment directly to the county, and member communities form a board to review applications from towns and agencies. The board distributes funds through a competitive process that ranks projects based on their readiness, worthiness and impact on the region. Cumberland County is the only county in New England that is an entitlement community for CDBG.

Funds from the CDBG program have supported a diverse range of projects, from building sidewalks, ADA accessible ramps, parks and recreation facilities to rehabilitation of group homes and meeting sites, and supporting programming for immigrants through the Opportunity Alliance.

The Bailey Island Hall provides economic growth and social health to the Harpswell region. CDBG funds sponsored the Hall’s restoration by improving accessibility for elders and people with disabilities through sidewalk rehabilitations and ADA bathrooms. CDBG funds were also used to improve the safety and structural integrity of the Hall, while maintaining its original character.

The Orr’s and Bailey Island fire department have also recently benefited from the CDBG program. In conjunction with the Town of Harpswell, the Orr’s and Bailey Island fire station utilized CDBG funds to convert the second story of the fire station into onsite housing for its first responders. CDBG sponsored the installation of electrical, plumbing and sprinkler systems. The project’s goal of improving recruitment and retention of fire fighters has so far proven successful; since its completion, Harpswell has hired six per diem firefighters and are looking to hire even more this coming summer.

In addition to touring the completed projects, the commissioners will hold a regular meeting and discuss countywide initiatives under development this year. Commissioners have also invited local non-profit, charitable and municipal organizations to present their work in the community.

The first meeting of the Cumberland County Commissioners’ Summer Tour took place on May 14 at Redbank Community Center in South Portland. Future meetings are scheduled as follows:
July 9: Casco, New Community Park. 6pm.
September 10: Bridgton, Old Town Hall. 6pm.



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