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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Economic Adjustment Assistance 3 $1,812,823
Public Works 1 $1,900,000
Planning 9 $723,384
1 $100,000
Total 14 $4,536,207

Working waterfronts and waterways have long been an integral component of the U.S. economy, as well as our nation’s cultural and social heritage. Like many coastal New England towns, the city of Belfast, Maine, was built around its waterfront. Dating to before the American Revolution, Belfast has been a center of shipbuilding and maritime commerce for more than two centuries. Yet after 245 years, Belfast’s working waterfront struggled to support the needs of modern businesses.

Antiquated infrastructure prevented the waterfront’s businesses from expanding and threatened their ability to safely transport their goods.  Front Street Shipyard, an internationally-competitive boat repair and construction company, was poised to expand, but the waterfront’s main roadway, Front Street, could not accommodate the movement of larger vessels. Another major employer, a food processing firm, was at risk due to water and sewer capacity limitations and road restrictions limiting truck access.

In 2014, EDA invested $1.9 million to support the construction of utility and road improvements that will enable the shipyard to accommodate vessels up to 200 tons. These improvements will allow the shipyard to increase its competitiveness for international contracts, and further develop its new manufacturing business, including vessel and marine structures construction.  This added capacity will also result in the re-shoring of jobs from overseas shipyards, as the Front Street Shipyard can now accommodate work that was previously impossible in the northeast United States.  In addition to restoring the City’s working waterfront to its historic vibrancy; this project is expected to create 110 high-quality jobs, retain 130 manufacturing jobs, and leverage $8.7 million in private investment.

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