by Ramona du Houx
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen Damariscotta as one of just 22 communities in the country to participate in its Building Blocks program. Through the program, Damariscotta will receive technical assistance from EPA and other federal agencies to develop plans for sustainable housing options geared to meet the needs of seniors.
“Maine is one of the oldest states in the country. So often, small towns bear the brunt of figuring out how to provide seniors the housing and services they need to stay in the communities they’ve called home for so long,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “I’m so glad Damariscotta will receive this valuable assistance to generate some different options for meeting those needs in a sustainable way. The process should offer valuable lessons for many Maine communities dealing with the same sort of challenges.”
Through the program, the EPA will host a workshop for the community to generate options for addressing housing needs, then help develop a plan to pursue those ideas. EPA will conduct the workshop in coordination with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation—the three federal agencies work together to coordinate federal investment for housing, environmental protection, and transportation.
“Our EPA Sustainable Communities workshop comes at the right time for Damariscotta’s continuing response to the challenges of the 21st Century,” said Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus in an EPA press release earlier today. “Our recently adopted comprehensive plan in June 2014 calls for the development of new alternatives and flexibility in meeting the changing housing needs of our aging population, one of the highest in the country, so our long-term residents may remain in our community long after retirement. As a service center for seven surrounding towns, Damariscotta also is mindful of the housing needs of younger working families and single persons starting out. We look forward to the workshop.”
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for the EPA.