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USDA Awards $73,516 Grant for Aquaculture Business Park

US - Long-simmering plans to convert the former U.S. Navy communications center in Corea into an aquaculture business park are off the back burner after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that it is awarding a $73,516 grant to the project.

The Rural Business Enterprise Grant is being provided through the USDA’s Rural Development division.

“These funds are important as they support an industry essential to Maine’s economy and way of life,” said Michael W. Aube, USDA Rural Development’s state director. “They are creating cost-effective opportunities for aquaculture businesses and allowing for economic growth and job creation in rural Maine.”

The USDA funds are being combined with a $400,000 Maine Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awarded last year to the town of Gouldsboro to help underwrite the costs of designing and building a seawater circulation system at the proposed Gulf of Maine Aquaculture Business Park.

The Maine Technology Institute also has conditionally approved up to $200,000 for the project, according to John Holden, director of business development for the Eastern Maine Development Corp. (EMDC).

“This is going to happen,” Holden told the Gouldsboro Board of Selectmen at an Aug. 9 briefing on the project. “This will be a unique business park in North America that will be producing taxable income and jobs in Gouldsboro.”

The Acadia Capital Corp. (ACC), a Bangor-based nonprofit affiliate of EMDC, now owns 40 acres of the former U.S. Navy complex that once occupied 450 acres off Route 195 between the Gouldsboro villages of Prospect Harbor and Corea.

Holden said he expects the business park to attract as many as 15 businesses involved in land-based commercial aquaculture activities, such as fish farming.

Source: The Ellsworth American