In the fall of 2014, the Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission voted unanimously to grant $200,000 to the Marble Block Redevelopment Corporation, an entity of Engine, an arts organization, for the cleanup of hazardous materials in the Marble Block, a historic building at 129 Main Street in downtown Biddeford, Maine.
As part of the redevelopment of the Marble Block, Engine was required to complete an environmental assessment and hazardous materials test prior to full-scale renovation. Significant asbestos and lead was found throughout the basement and upper floors which require licensed abatement. As a nonprofit corporation, Engine’s Marble Block Redevelopment Corporation qualified for a grant through the Brownfields Program.
“We deeply appreciate the SMPDC’s help and this grant. Without this grant funding, the building would sit empty for the unforeseeable future and continue to deteriorate rapidly while we worked to raise the money privately. The nasty conditions of the basement were completely preventing any further work to be done by electrical and fire safety subcontractors,” says Greg Tarbox, chair of the Marble Block Redevelopment Corporation.
“This project is a perfect utilization of Brownfields funding. It cleans up a property, enhances the growing redevelopment of downtown Biddeford, provides start up funding for an exciting new arts and culture effort, begins the restoration process of a beautiful old building and will hopefully lead to more opportunities on Main Street,” says Paul Schumacher, Executive Director of Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission
ENGINE, located in the heart of Biddeford, Maine, is a non-profit arts organization. Engine’s mission is to make arts-driven programming, cultural development, and sustainable creative entrepreneurialism an explicit community value and civic priority in Biddeford. ENGINE is the home to the Maine Fablab in addition to running at contemporary gallery space at 265 Main street. www.feedtheengine.org
SOUTHERN MAINE PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: Founded in 1964, in response to an identified need for a coordinated effort for economic development and resource management, SMPDC has been conducting economic development, environmental, land use and transportation planning and providing technical assistance to the municipalities in the region for over 45 years. SMPDC has recently changed its name (formerly Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission) to reflect the Commissions’ expanded role in community development, housing and brownfields redevelopment. A Council of Governments enabled by state statute, SMPDC includes thirty-nine communities in York, southern Oxford and Cumberland County and the county of York itself as members. Information on SMPDC’s Brownfields Grant program can be found here.