Question 4 on the June 8 ballot asks voters to support borrowing $23.75 million to invest in community and economic development. If approved, the bond would make Maine eligible for more than $39 million in matching federal and private funds.

Here’s where the money would go:

$1.25 million for the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to establish a fund for acquiring and investing in historic properties.

“The future of our towns and surrounding landscapes are very significant,” said Greg Paxton, executive director of Maine Preservation. “Revitalizing our in-town areas, including the downtown and neighborhoods, is really an important strategic approach for Maine.”

The fund would be “revolving,” so that money earned with the sale of refurbished properties would be used to invest in other properties on the National Registry of Historic Places that might otherwise be demolished.

$3.5 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Communities for Maine’s Future Program, which provides competitive grants that must be matched, typically by private money, for projects ranging from sidewalks to refurbishing town halls.

“A big part of what it means to live in Maine is that we’ve got these authentic villages and downtowns that developers actually try to replicate in new developments in other states,” said Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine. “We’ve got the real thing right here.”

$3 million for the Maine Technology Asset Fund, which provides capital investment for companies and research institutions working in renewable energy and other high-tech areas including information technology, composites and precision manufacturing. The state’s investment would be 100 percent matched by other funding.

$8 million for Brunswick Naval Air Station redevelopment, which would be matched by $32.5 million in federal funds. More than half of Maine’s contribution — $4.75 million — would fund a new campus for Southern Maine Community College, which said it turned away more than 3,000 students from degree programs last year. Students at the new campus would get hands-on training at the centerpiece Maine Advanced Technology and Engineering Center.

The remaining $3.25 million would help bring buildings on the base up to code for use by private businesses.

Art Mayo, president of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which is in charge of redeveloping the base, has high hopes that the base can be used to repair, maintain, and finish aircraft.

$1 million for the Finance Authority of Maine to provide new grants for food processing, potentially adding value to lobster, blueberries, potatoes, or organic produce.

$3 million for the Economic Recovery Loan Program, a revolving fund managed by FAME that has used $17.5 million in seed money to loan $52 million since it was established in 1992. The authority receives $1 million in loan requests from businesses of all sizes every month, and grants loans at up to 2 percent above prime — for a current total of 5.25 percent — to businesses, and often works with commercial banks.

Charlie Emmonds, senior commercial loan officer at FAME, said the loan program has helped retain 13,600 jobs and create more than 2,500 new jobs in Maine.

$4 million for the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, a public venture capital fund that invests in startup companies.

“Most of the time (these companies) would not qualify for any kind of commercial loan program,” said Matthew Hoffner, a director of the fund. He said the $9 million the fund has invested over the past seven years has attracted more than $100 million in other venture capital. The 21 companies the fund has invested in employ 260 people with average salaries of $45,000. 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Ethan Wilensky-Lanford can be reached at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]