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Houlton seeking grant money for projects

HOULTON, Maine — The town will be using grant money to make several purchases and repairs in the near future, and is hoping to secure similar funding to complete more projects.

Nancy Ketch, grant writer and community development director for the town, said Tuesday that a recently secured grant, along with matching funds, will be used to recreate the west chimney on the Southern Aroostook Historical and Art Museum to make it historically accurate and identical from the roof line up.

She said the town received $5,000 from the Maine Community Foundation’s Belvedere Historic Preservation and Energy Efficiency Grant Program. The program invests in the preservation, restoration, and retrofitting of historic buildings in Maine, according to its website. Grants from this fund focus on capital investments in historic buildings that serve as civic, cultural, or economic hubs for communities. All proposed projects must be for historic buildings listed in or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is listed. Often called the White Memorial Building, the facility at 109 Main Street also is home to the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. The museum was founded in 1934, after the 1903 Colonial Revival house was donated to the town by the White family.

Town councilors late last month also approved a $5,000 match from the town to complete the project.

The town also secured a grant that will benefit local children.

Councilors accepted a $120 Let’s Go Mini Grant from the Aroostook County Action Program. The funding will be used to buy equipment for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Ketch also said that the town would submit an application to the 2018 FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program for $109,000 for personal protective equipment. If it is received, a 5 percent match of $5,450 will be required from the community.

The town is hoping to secure turnout gear for the fire department. Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone was informed in September that the department had been turned down for a $90,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that would have paid to replace the gear and buy a washer-extractor and a dryer for the department. Earlier this year, Cone submitted a list of big ticket items to be included in the capital plan, which included funding to replace the turnout gear. He said that the current gear is 16-years-old.

“We just sent the application for the turnout gear in at the end of October,” said Ketch. “So we should hear by late spring or early summer.”

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