Thursday, December 5, 2013
Efforts to promote tourism and promote the economy in northern Franklin County will be getting a $46,650 windfall from the Kibby wind-turbine tax increment financing district.
Franklin County Commissioners voted Tuesday to give $44,650 from the Kibby TIF district to three economic development projects. The county also granted $2,000 from the fund to a Freeman Township woman to help pay for her to attend a Southern Maine Community College class with the hope of starting a small business.
The tax increment financing district was formed in 2008 on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Ridge, near the Canadian border. The TIF district lets the county “shelter” the 44-turbine Kibby wind farm’s property tax revenue from state valuation and use it for economic development projects and tourism promotion within Franklin County's unorganized townships and plantations. The fund is also for scholarships for unorganized territory residents taking employment skills classes.
Alison Hagerstrom, executive director of the Greater Franklin Development Corp., sits on the TIF district committee that oversees applications for the money. During the last three years, she said, the county’s first TIF district successfully has raised money for development as originally planned.
“It’s doing what we hoped it would do, and we hope more people will continue to apply,” Hagerstromsaid.
Commissioners granted $24,500 to the High Peaks Alliance as a matching grant for a $59,000 trail improvement project.
The group, which is a collaboration of outdoor interest groups, plans to use the money to take an inventory of existing trails in the unorganized territory and create a detailed map of the trails.
The organization said in the application that the map is not for tourists but for the organization to use internally to see where the trails are connected and where they could be connected in the future and to consider areas to create trailheads or “rescue zones” for public safety officials.
The Maine High Peaks Scenic Byway Committee received $16,700 in TIF money to improve scenic turnouts in Chain of Ponds Township and near Sarampus Falls. The group plans to use the money for maintenance projects at the two scenic stops, including repairing a picnic shelter and removing trees.
The commissioners also granted the Franklin County Tourism Network $3,400 in matching funds to run an advertisement featuring Franklin County in the “Maine Invites You” travel planner.
Along with the economic development projects, the commissioners granted $2,000 for Freeman Township resident Deborah Staler to take an entrepreneurship class at Southern Maine Community College. Staler said in her application that she plans to learn about opening a small business.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252