Downtown Fort Kent has faced some challenges over the past few years; two major fires and businesses closures have put a bit of a damper on the main part of town. But there’s talk of a new town warrant underway that’s a big step forward in the revitalization efforts of Fort Kent’s downtown area. The town’s calling for a ” Dowtown Tax Increment Financing District.” It’s called TIF for short; and it could really help in boosting the downtown area.
Fort Kent Town Manager Donald Guimond says, “As a tool it allows you to shelter so to speak new development that takes place and the taxes that are generated from that new development can be incorporated into the district and used for such things as infrastructure needs.”
Basically the TIF District zeros in on a specific part of the town and acts as an economic development tool to further enhance development in that district. The Fort Kent Town Manager says the TIF District will begin at the America’s First Mile monument on Main Street and it will go all the way down to Rite Aid on Main Street that’s about a mile away.
Fort Kent Town Manager Donald Guimond says, ”The other component that it does is it allows us to generate money to potentially match other grant opportunities that may be out there; in this day and age any grant opportunity that’s out there requires match components.”
The Town Manager also says there’s a marketing and branding component to the TIF development plan; in hopes of enticing other businesses to set up shop in the downtown area and to attract more residents.
Fort Kent Town Manager Donald Guimond says, ”Looking at things such as parking improvements to facilitate additional development, encouraging development to not only the first floor development but to have apartments or housing in the upper stories. We have a new relatively new downtown revitalization committee that’s been established, and so we’re working closely with them in the hopes of getting redevelopment to take place especially in light of the fires.”
The Valley Motors Car dealership is re-building, and the town manager hopes that a TIF district will encourage re-development of other parts of the downtown area as well.
But of course in order for the TIF District to go into affect, voter approval is needed. A town meeting is being held in Fort Kent this Monday where the TIF Development plan will be presented; in hopes of gaining citizen support. If voters approve the TIF District proposal, the Fort Kent town manager says it should be in full swing by April of 2014.