News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 20, 2013
State of Maine grant would aid WESMAC expansion

by Rich Hewitt

Residents will have a chance next week to comment on the town’s application for $300,000 in state funds to help a local boatbuilding company make improvements at its facility that would bring new jobs to the town.

The town plans to submit an application for a $300,000 state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help provide part of the funding for the project. If approved, the grant would provide pass-through funds to the town to help fill the gaps in funding for the expansion project at WESMAC Enterprises.

The CDBG program requires that a public hearing to discuss the application be held before the town’s application is submitted. The selectmen have scheduled the public hearing for 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, at the town office.

WESMAC is seeking the funding to expand its operations at its Route 172 facility. The first phase of that expansion includes enlarging its boat molds to allow them to produce larger boats. It also would include the purchase of new equipment and improvements to the heating and air quality systems at the shop.

Those improvements, estimated to cost $670,000, would allow the company to hire as many as 11 new employees by mid-September, according to Tom Martin, executive director of the Hancock County Planning Commission, which is working with the town on the application.

The grant will provide about 45 percent of the funding for the first phase, Martin said. Additional funds are anticipated to come from a $250,000 loan through the federal Small Business Administration as well as private funding.

Public comments at the hearing will be included as part of the application. Comments may be submitted in writing to the Surry Board of Selectmen, P.O. Box 147, Surry, ME 04684 at any time prior to the public hearing.