U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, was in the city this morning to announce $10 million in USDA Rural Development Community Facility Program loans that will assist the historic Plant Memorial Home in expanding its assisted senior care center here.

Pingree and USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel visited the facility at 1 Washington St., this morning to make the announcement.

The funding will likely foot the entire bill — previously estimated at $9.2 million — of constructing a 50,000-square-foot addition with 45 new residential units at the assisted-living facility. The project will more than double the facility’s capacity to assist the area’s aging population, as it currently has 37 units.

There are two loans – one is a direct loan from the Agriculture Department’s Rural Development department in Maine called a Community Facility Direct Loan, for $6 million.  The other loan is a federally guaranteed loan from Androscoggin Bank for $4 million, according to Manuel.  “The funds we have to provide this type of loan has quadrupled in the last three years,” she said.  “So we’ve been actively marketing the loans to municipalities, who see the value in accepting these low-interest funds for water and sewer systems, libraries, health clinics, and fire and police stations.”

Manuel said that $24 million per year is available in Maine.  “To be able to help more seniors is definitely a big goal of ours,” she said.

The loans are 40-year loans with an interest rate below 4.75 percent.  A construction bridge loan will cover the phase of the life of the loan before new residents can be moved in and begin paying rent.  

Rep. Chellie Pingree said she was pleased to announce the funding.  “Aging is just around the corner for all of us,” she said.  “Or if not for us, for our mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles.  Maine has one of the most ‘elderly’ populations in the country, if not the most elderly population.  It’s vital that more care facilities are available for our frail elderly.”

Video of Pingree at Plant Home

The Plant Memorial home was built in 1917 with a mission “to deliver to its residents, regardless of their ability to pay, the highest quality independent elder housing and assisted living services, professionally, compassionately, and efficiently; and to support community involvement in the Mid-coast Maine area.”

The Plant Home had just received City Council approval of the project on Nov. 6 after a months-long review.

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