Maine Investment is part of $222 Million Annouced Nationwide

November 19, 2021

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is investing $222 million to build and improve critical community facilities in 44 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. This community infrastructure funding will benefit nearly 2.5 million people in rural communities. It also includes $132 million to support health care, food security, and emergency response services for more than 850,000 rural residents in 37 states. In Maine, five community facilities will receive a total of $176,800 in grant funding.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on its promise to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild our economy,” Torres Small said. “Rural Americans need emergency response, hospitals and medical facilities, and USDA’s loans and grants invest in critical infrastructure to make that possible. USDA Rural Development puts rural people at the forefront of investment and opportunity to help us all build back better, stronger, and more resilient.”

USDA Rural Development Acting Maine State Director Tommy R. Higgins said, “This Rural Development funding supports multiple projects in Maine that benefit critical community facilities. From repairing a rural library to expanding a food pantry to upgrading other essential and important facilities, this key funding is improving the quality of life for residents in rural communities.”

In Maine, the organizations receiving a total of $176,800 are:

  • The Downeast Salmon Federation Inc. is receiving a grant in the amount of $23,500. This Rural Development investment will be used to replace the deteriorated roof shingles with a metal roof system at the East Machias facility. In addition to roof replacement, the flashing, trim, soffits, ridge vent and cap, fascia bird wire protection and other supporting appurtenances will be replaced.  This facility operates a conservation fish hatchery and administrative offices. The Downeast Salmon Federation through a formal partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, rears endangered Atlantic salmon from egg stage to parr stage and releases fish into the waters of the East Machias river on an annual basis.
  • The Well of Mars Hill Maine is receiving a grant in the amount of $25,300. This Rural Development investment will be used to complete minor renovations to an afterschool children’s center in Mars Hill, Maine. The repairs will include new flooring, updating the electrical, painting the interior, new lighting and replacing doors. The Well of Mars Hill Maine offers after-school and evening programs, tutoring, mentoring, real-life classes, internet access, educational and cultural programs. They will also remain open during school vacations to provide a safe environment for youth along with free drinks, snacks and a meal.
  • Eastport Public Library Association is receiving a grant in the amount of $50,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to replace and repoint nearly 1,000 square feet of brick on the Peavey Memorial Library in Eastport, Maine. Over the past few decades, the masonry façade, roof and cupola have suffered significant deterioration and completing these repairs will ensure the library’s preservation and availability to support and serve future generations. Since 1893, the library has been providing a gathering space for residents, visitors, and researchers. It is the learning center of the community offering educational and cultural services, a balanced collection of books as well as other materials, and free public internet access seven days a week, year-round. Designated in 1982, the library was included among 29 other structures of the Eastport Historic District of late 19th Century and early 20th Century structures.
  • The Patriarchs Club is receiving a grant in the amount of $50,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to expand the Harmony Cares Food Pantry located in the town of Harmony, Maine. This project involves the construction of a 28×30 foot addition that will provide the space needed for food distribution, storage, and a restroom.  The food pantry also serves the neighboring towns of Cambridge and Wellington.  Since the opening of the pantry in 2017, the number of food insecure families served by this facility has tripled. Additional food distribution/storage space and refrigeration/freezer capacity is desperately needed to meet the growing demand. The project also will provide facility upgrades, an emergency generator, and commercial refrigeration/freezer units.
  • Center Theatre Inc. is receiving two grants totaling $28,000 ($15,600 and $12,400). This Rural Development investment will be used to renovate Center Theatre located in the town of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. Center Theatre is the only professional performing arts venue in Piscataquis County and is a major resource for the schools and community. Funds will be used to fix the columns and footings supporting the theater over the banks of the Piscataquis River. The theater is a historic building and over time there has been damage caused by flooding, ice and erosion. Damage has also been caused by improper roof drainage which will be corrected as part of this project.  Many of the theatre’s programs focus on children and education including drama camps, after school programs, educational programs and children’s theatrical productions in cooperation with Foxcroft Academy. The theater also produces a number of live theatrical productions during the year as well as host concerts, meetings, and community events. Another component of the theatre’s programming is first and second-run movies along with documentaries and art films.

USDA is investing in 537 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program. The assistance will fund essential community services that will help keep rural America resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects will finance emergency response vehicles and equipment; build or improve hospitals and clinics; and combat food insecurity.


More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. For more information, visit

Today’s investments complement the recently announced funding availability under USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, which also is being administered through the Community Facilities program. Through this program, USDA is making up to $500 million available through the American Rescue Plan to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services and nutrition assistance.

Under the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended. For more information, visit

Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants (PDF, 669 KB) for a detailed overview of the application process.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas.