The Trump Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $5,434,400 to help eight essential community facilities in rural Maine. This investment will serve an estimated 730,796 people.

USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “Maine’s community facilities provide vital services for rural residents that improve the quality of life in our state. I am pleased that under the leadership of the Trump Administration, USDA Rural Development is investing in critical services that support education, fire and safety training, and important community services.”

In Maine, eight community facilities will receive a total of $5,434,400. They include the Children's Discovery Museum in Waterville, the Regional Transportation Association in Westbrook, The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in Littleton, The Piscataquis Regional YMCA in Dover-Foxcroft, Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta, the St. George Fire Station in St. George, Fiddlehead School in Gray and Fryeburg Recreation Department in Fryeburg.

Of the eight selected facilities chosen, the St. George Volunteer Fire Station was selected to receive a Community Facilities Direct Loan of $145,000 and Grant of $65,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to complete a previously funded Rural Development Project which encountered unexpected escalating construction costs.

The "live" training facility, also known as a burn house, addresses the real time safety concerns firefighters face while on the job. In addition to classroom training, firefighters need a place to train as a team, and the burn house provides an opportunity for on-the-job training.

The facility will be a two-story structure constructed of poured concrete with an attached three-story tower.

There will be two burn rooms with ceramic tiles to protect the concrete, and the interior walls will be movable to change the configuration for different training scenarios. There will also be a hatch in the floor of the second story to practice confined space rescues.

The training facility will be used by firefighting personnel throughout Knox County. The proposed project is in an Agency identified target area. Rural Development staff have been working within the Town over the past few years to extend our services and programs to help the community enhance their mission.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.