LEWISTON — Federal grants of more than $3.3 million will help clean up lead in downtown residences and train local contractors in lead and other environmental cleanup efforts.
“Part of it is cleaning, part is monitoring so that if lead issues come up, they get addressed,” Misty Parker, Lewiston’s economic development specialist, said.
The city has scheduled a news conference Dec. 9 to discuss additions to the city grants given to Pine Tree Legal, the Lewiston School Department and Healthy Androscoggin.
Grants to all of those organizations are aimed at issues related to lead poisoning.
“They are all intertwined and so our focus is giving attention to the fact that there is a huge issue in our community,” Parker said. “There are different efforts designed to alleviate some part of it.”
In Lewiston’s case, the city received $2.99 million in federal Housing and Urban Development grants for a Lead-based Paint Hazard Control Program. That will help fund a comprehensive lead education and abatement program, providing lead assessments for 225 downtown homes, interventions in 160 dwelling units and 50 educational and outreach events in the community.
Another $400,000 in Healthy Homes Initiative funding will target lead cleaning.
“Part of it, too, is education about these things so people know what to look for themselves,” Parker said. “It’ll also provide job training to increase lead contractor capacity, providing free lead worker training and certification to 136 community residents and contractors.”