2015-03-20 / Community

Block grants pending for businesses

As many as eight Kennebunk businesses could benefit from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) being prepared by the town’s economic development office.

Community Development Director Caroline Segalla says she is in the final stages of readying a $150,000 microenterprise application, which is due by the end of the month.

The funds, administered through the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, flow from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In order to qualify for money to rehab building exteriors and grounds, a property must be in an area previously labeled by the town as “slum and blight.” Money also can be used for interior work and capital purchases if the business owner qualifies as “low-to-moderate income,” or if improvements will result in jobs for people who are.

Applicants for the next round of funding include: Squaretoes Restaurant at 30 York St., for replacement windows, upgrading the air conditioning system and rebuilding a handicapped ramp; Danceworks, Best Nails, and Toppings Pizza, all in the building that encompasses 6-8 York St., which is up for a façade makeover; LaPierre Stonework for equipment and supplies to create a new countertop business; Snug Harbor Farm at 87 Western Ave., for exterior building improvements; We Care Dry Cleaners at 1 Storer St., also for façade improvements; and Spurling Training Systems, for working capital to relocate from the Water Street site.

According to Segalla, funds from the 2013 CDBG micro-enterprise grant, also totaling $150,000, paid for the following projects completed last year: new windows and doors for Boulangerie Bakery, at 5 Nasons Court ($16,922); painting, new windows and a handicapped accessible ramp for Cherie’s Bakery, at 7 High St. ($25,000); new equipment for Lafayette Barber Shop, at 2 Storer St. ($8,078); a full building rehab and expansion, including new equipment, which created three new jobs, for New Morning Natural Foods, at 3 York St. ($25,000); a building makeover and equipment purchase, also resulting in job creation, for Shapers Hair Design, at 7 York St. ($25,000); new building insulation and a repaved parking area for the Seed & Bean Coffee Shop and Wine Bar, at 154 Alfred Road ($25,000); and installation of bathrooms at Wallingford Farm Garden Center, located at 21 York St. ($25,000).

“There was no match required for the grants, but each business put in a significant amount of their own money to make the projects work,” said Kennebunk’s Economic Development Director Mat Eddy.

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