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Caribou awards facade improvement grants to spruce up local businesses

CARIBOU, Maine — Bennett Drive Redemption and Peterson’s Portable Toilets were awarded $7,000 and $5,000, respectively, for facade improvement projects via the city’s facade improvement grant program, according to Caribou City Manager Dennis Marker.

The funding will be paid as a reimbursement once the projects are finished. The total cost of both projects is estimated to be $32,000.

Marker announced the awards during an April 5 city council meeting, and said this was the first year the city went through a formal process of inviting businesses to submit applications. He said applications were accepted from businesses throughout the city, not just those within the TIF district. 

In addition to the two winning businesses, the city also received applications from County Wide Vacuum, Family Chiropractic, Gary’s Yamaha, GJ Autobody, Major Service Auto Repair, North Rental, Roy Boy’s Truck Works and the VFW. 

“Each submitted very good requests and we recognize that every business in town is one that we would love to help and support,” Marker said.

He said that with only $12,000 allocated toward the grants, the Facade Improvement Committee discussed how the funds could be best utilized, and ultimately decided to award two larger grants instead of several smaller grants so they could give the businesses a better opportunity to move forward with their projects.

Applications were ranked on numerous criteria including overall need/urgency, high visibility, material quality, use of local labor for repairs, blight remediation and prior funding, according to the city.

Marker said both projects are in highly visible areas, with Bennett Drive being one of the city’s busiest streets and that Peterson’s Portable Toilets, located on Otter Street, is part of the city’s industrial park.

He said the Bennett Drive Redemption renovation will include replacing the siding, windows, and doors and installing roofing. The Peterson’s Portable Toilets project will include fixing broken paneling, and adding new siding and trim.

He said Bennett Drive is one of the city’s most highly traveled roads and visible areas, and that renovation of Peterson’s Portable Toilets will help make the industrial park more appealing for businesses interested in properties within that area.

Since the committee had already selected the two recipients, Marker told the council that a motion was not necessary, adding that the announcement was more of an FYI.

The mayor and councilors congratulated the businesses before moving onto the next agenda item.

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