Article - Regional Forest Economy Partnership Awards Announced
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2019
Contact: Rich Grogan
Regional Forest Economy Partnership Awards Announced
The Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) has approved $7.2 Million in new awards to 9 projects as of August 14, 2019. The organizations receiving these awards are:
• Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation - $1,000,000: To design and permit a biomass combined heat and power energy plant at Long Falls Paperboard.
• East Millinocket Industrials - $450,000: To redevelop the East Millinocket paper mill site into a multi-industrial complex.
• Maine Foundation - $646,396: A partnership model building on stakeholder-driven work to focus on the development of community revitalization projects in communities most impacted by mill closures.
• Northern Forest Center - $908,277: To launch the Northern Forest Rural Destination Development Initiative in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for residents.
• Preservation Trust of Vermont (through the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance) - $1,000,000: To establish the Northern Heritage Economy Program in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to help communities undertake community-driven preservation projects with strong economic revitalization potential.
• The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - $624,060: To advance the agricultural economy by launching the Northeast Agricultural Business Assistance Network throughout the four-states in the NBRC region.
• Vermont Technical College - $1,000,000: To create educational pathways to train and educate a skilled workforce in the forestry field for better woodland management and stewardship.
• Workforce Development Institute (WDI) - $571,267: To focus on workforce development and training for jobs in the forest products industry.
• University of Maine - $1,000,000: To build a demonstration facility cellulose nanofiber (CNF) plant to speed the commercialization of a new forest product.
The awards were made within the Regional Forest Economy Partnership, a new NBRC-led initiative, which was driven by a desire to focus on innovative initiatives to engage a regional approach in addressing the decline in forest-based economies. The funds for this program, and all NBRC programs, are available thanks to the support of the Congressional Delegations of all four NBRC states: Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
During the first year of the Regional Forest Economy Partnerships initiative, NBRC received a wide range of applications from new and established organizations, which were reviewed by an external Advisory Board, consisting of equal representation from all four states in the region, and Commission members. Applications were scored on a range of variables, including their regional scope, potential for transformative change, and ability to implement.
“The NBRC is excited to work with this year’s awardees to move an impressive slate of innovative projects forward,” said Executive Director Rich Grogan. He added: “There is not one simple solution to improving our forest-based economies in the region, but we feel that this collection of projects endorses the view that a diversity of well-researched approaches can collaboratively engage our most critical economic development issues.”
Depending on the availability of funds in 2020, the NBRC anticipates another round of Regional Forest Economy Partnership awards next year. Please refer to NBRC’s website, www.nbrc.gov, for announcements about future Funding Opportunities. All funds for the 2019 round have been expended as of the awards referenced above.
Created in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. In its eleven-year history, the commission has awarded 248 grants amounting to more than $56 million across the four states through its primary Economic & Infrastructure Development (EID) grant program and other special initiatives.