October 26, 2012

The Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, Maine, will be expanding and adding new jobs because of a federal grant. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Front Street Shipyard and the City of Belfast learned recently that they have been awarded a $200,000 grant from the State of Maine’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Development Program.

“The announcement that Front Street Shipyard and the City of Belfast were awarded the CDBG grant was met with great excitement by everyone at the yard. Our continued close working relationship with the City has been one of the keys to our success,” said JB Turner, Front Street Shipyard’s President. “The City’s involvement and help throughout our rapid growth has been unprecedented in my career. We truly relish being a part of this community and hope that by working together on items such as the grant, Front Street Shipyard can continue to be an important piece of Belfast for many years to come.”

The grant funds will be used to fund improvements to the waterfront facility of the former Belfast Boatyard, including strengthening its existing wooden dock, purchasing a 30-ton capacity crane, and forming and pouring a structural concrete pad to support that crane. These improvements will greatly enhance Front Street Shipyard’s capabilities for unstepping (removing) masts from ships. These funds will also be used to assist the yard in acquiring a custom marine heated spray paint booth that will dramatically enhance its ability to perform consistently high-quality paint work. Overall, this project will allow Front Street Shipyard to maintain its competitiveness with the many other yards that are located around the world.

“The City is very happy to have secured this important grant and to see Front Street Shipyard be able to continue to add more employees, and we are very excited about the shipyard’s future growth prospects,” said Belfast Mayor Walter Ash.

Front Street Shipyard will be matching the grant with at least $200,000 of its own funds, and will be required to create a minimum of 10 new full-time equivalent positions, with at least 51% of these new positions going to persons of low and moderate income (as defined by the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)).

The CDBG program’s primary objective is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.