The Rockport Select Board will hold a public hearing to discuss the state of two Community Development Block Grants, on behalf of Avena Botanicals and Farmers Fare, when it meets Monday, Nov. 14.

The board approved the grant for Avena on April 11, after the Food and Drug Administration issued a series of new regulations that require the company to make major capital improvements to its physical plant, including specific environmental and climate controls and the creation of an on-premises microbiology laboratory to conduct ongoing tests of organic materials used in the manufacturing process.

Avena Botanicals will use the grant to build an addition to its existing structure, redesign the existing processing facility, and purchase necessary equipment.

On Nov. 3, 2009, Rockport voters, by a vote of 1,127 to 561, approved a CDBG application for an economic development program grant, on behalf of Farmers Fare, in the amount of $100,000. The money, derived from federal sources and funneled through the state, was to be used for working capital to advance the company’s private label and specialty foods production at the Route 90 facility. Conditions of the grant required that Farmers Fare create the equivalent of five full-time non-retail positions for workers involved in producing value-added local products.

Two years later, the large wooden building is quiet and owners Peter Christie and Teri Thompson-Christie are far from meeting the goals they set, goals that the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and Rockport Planner and Community Development Director Tom Ford said must be accomplished before Dec. 18.

The Nov. 14 meeting of the Rockport Select Board will begin at 7 p.m. in the Rockport Opera House and be televised on Channel 22.

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