The Hancock County Commissioners have announced the results of a first round of grants issued to communities funded by First Wind. On the list is the Town of Deer Isle, awarded $20,000 for work on the playground behind the former elementary school.
Hancock County has an agreement with First Wind to receive approximately $200,000 in community improvement funds each year for the next 30 years as part of the deal for First Wind’s Bull Hill wind project.
This year was the first year for funds, and the commissioners took half the funds, approximately $100,000, and put out a call for grant applications.
Hancock County Commissioner Joe Brown said Deer Isle Second Selectman Twyla Weed jumped on the opportunity and took care of Deer Isle’s application.
Weed said the funds will be used to clean up the playground and make it useable again for the community. It’s a project that has been on the back burners in the decade-plus since the new elementary school was built.
“It’s been stalled for a while,” said Weed.
Weed said she is thrilled to have received $20,000 for the project. Her goal is to seek out in-kind funds, volunteer labor and materials, and other efforts to “go as far as the money will go.”
First on the list will be cleaning up and taking stock of what’s there, and figuring what—if anything—can be salvaged.
A plan for how the funds will be used must be filed within the next few months, and Weed said she’s not sure yet when or if a public meeting will be held explicitly on the project, but she is looking for input.
“I’ll take all the help I can get,” said Weed.
There were 13 applications for the funds, and six were granted to various towns for projects. A few included Crabtree Neck Land Trust, which received $1,400 for community Gardens; Hancock County Habitat for Humanity was awarded $20,000; and the Trenton Seaplane and Landing project, which was also awarded $20,000.
Brown said the commissioners are considering using the other $100,000 of this year’s funds to help with a tax reduction on homes belonging to approximately 2,149 veterans and surviving spouses.
Brown said there would likely be another round of grant monies next year.