BRUNSWICK — The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is set to spend up to $807,450.29 in tax increment financing funding on public infrastructure projects in the 2019 fiscal year.

Street lights, a new connector road and pavement resurfacing are just a few of the projects on deck. 

The redevelopment authority says it will use additional funding from state and federal entities to make other investments in the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. That includes a $6.2 million grant from the Federal Aviation Authority for improvements to the airport. In total, the authority has $7,629,700 in infrastructure projects slated for the coming year.

“The success of (Brunswick Landing) is really because of the partnerships that have been formed and the support,” said Steve Levesque, who oversees redevelopment efforts at the former base. “It really takes the community to get behind these projects. It takes the state to get behind these projects. It takes the federal government to support them.”

The spending comes under a tax increment financing agreement that the town and redevelopment authority entered in 2013. Under the agreement, property taxes at the base are split evenly between two accounts — one for the town and one to be used by the authority for infrastructure projects at the base. The agreement requires the redevelopment authority to present a request to spend its portion of the funds to the town council for approval annually. Over the life of the 30 year agreement, the authority can spend up to $15 million.

“(This) is our mechanism for a lot of the development in the community,” said Economic Development Director Linda Smith.

The funding will be released in two installments — one after November tax payments and one after April tax payments.

Tax increment financing is a popular tool municipalities use to fund infrastructure improvements and redevelopment efforts. They earmark property tax revenue gained from increased assessed values in certain areas, and designate that money toward projects within TIF districts — in this case, the former base.

BASE REDEVELOPMENT CONTINUES

The redevelopment authority has overseen conversion of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station to civilian use since the base was closed in 2011. During its hey day, the base employed about 5,000 people.

Since the closure, the redevelopment authority has been wooing businesses in the aerospace, tech and other industries to the 1,300-acre campus in Brunswick and its Topsham annex.

The most recent business to come to Brunswick Landing is Clamar Floats, which announced Sept. 7 that it was relocating from London, Ontario to Brunswick Executive Airport. The company manufactures light weight composite pontoons for amphibious aircraft. The redevelopment authority stated Clamar would be taking advantage of the TechPlace manufacturing center at Brunswick Landing, which features shared work spaces for high-tech manufacturing.

The transition of production from Ontario to Brunswick is planned to be completed before year’s end.

Levesque said that the  authority has been “really fortunate with the redevelopment activity” at Brunswick Landing.

“We’ve now eclipsed almost 1,800 people working out there,” Levesque said. “We have 150 new businesses, nearly half of them ever existed in name before.”

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