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Oakland
Maine

Downtown Revitalization
Funding Sources

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Downtown Revitalization Menu

Executive Summary
A. Key Findings
B. Recommended Plan
1. Marketing
2. Management
3. Streetscape
4. Municipal Parking
5. Gateways
6. Town Common and Walking Park
7. Facade Improvements
8. Funding Sources
9. Implementation Plan

Newsletters
September 01

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Sources for this funding could include State and Federal grants, such as Federal transportation funds for parking and roadway improvements, contributions from the Town's general fund, investments by local property owners and community development block grants (CDBG). This latter source may be particularly applicable to the downtown Oakland district given its current, existing conditions with respect to HUD criteria regarding prevention and/or elimination of slums or blight.

As noted previously, commercial properties represent about 95,400 square feet in the downtown with an estimated overall vacancy rate of around 21.0%. Much of this vacancy is concentrated in three or four key parcels near the northern gateway (Main and Oak Streets). In fact, over 15,000 square feet of vacancy is estimated to be within two multi-story commercial properties, which have been vacant for more than a year. Such sustained vacancy often results in deferred maintenance (observed in several properties) and the willingness to convert commercial uses to residential uses.(12) Such conversions only serve to further diminish the downtown's future commercial viability as building stock is removed from the inventory. In addition, the downtown commercial district suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure and streetscape improvements including the need for an adequate and safe pedestrian sidewalk and crosswalk system throughout the district.

Several communities the consultants have worked in have successfully utilized challenge grants(13) as a funding source to start the process of renovation/upgrading properties and in helping to organize, manage and promote their commercial districts. The Town could also consider the use of tax increment financing to "capture" any improvements in assessed property values and dedicating the resulting additional property tax revenue towards infrastructure improvements.


12. This is currently planned for one of the vacant commercial parcels (a single story structure of 1,200 square feet).

13. One community the consultants worked in established a $225,000 challenge grant which had the following selection (or award) criteria: up to, but not more than $50,000 to any one applicant; the amount of the grant could be between 25% and 40% of the total project cost; consideration for receipt of a grant required owner's cash equity of at least 10% of the total project cost; this equity had to sufficient to leverage a commercial loan; and, ultimate receipt of challenge grant funds depended on the impact, which the owner's proposed project has contributed, to the overall objectives of the revitalization efforts.

 

 

 


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