LEWISTON — Officials in charge of several local projects poised to receive more than $2 million in federal funding said the money will be well-spent.

The $447 billion spending bill recently approved by Congress is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama soon. It contains more than $70 million for projects in Maine.

The top local spending initiatives are $900,000 for the city of Lewiston to design a waterfront redevelopment plan and mill redevelopment; $600,000 for restoring the Camden Yarns Mill building to become the new home of Museum L-A; $500,000 for the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport to expand its capacity to accommodate larger aircraft; and $150,000 for Central Maine Community College to develop a counseling program to help veterans learn more about higher education opportunities at Maine’s colleges and universities.

About $50 million of the money headed to Maine is directed toward military and veterans affairs initiatives at the Bangor Air National Guard base, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery and the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The U.S. Senate approved the measure last Sunday. Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both Republicans, took opposite sides on the bill.

Collins, who recently earned a seat on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, voted for it. Snowe voted against it because “the increase in spending was too big and expensive a burden to ask the American people to shoulder,” according to a prepared statement.

Maine U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Democrats, voted in favor of the bill.

Lewiston Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said the $900,000 slated for the city will be used to plan and redevelop the riverfront from Island Point to Lown Peace Bridge.

“There’s all kinds of potential, but we haven’t really done anything to outline a vision for that area,” he said. “We’re hoping to set aside about $180,000 that can be used for planning; the remaining money can be set aside for mill redevelopment.”

The new City Council and administrator will discuss specifics, Nadeau said, adding that he expects community input to be part of the process.

Rachel Desgrosseilliers, executive director of Museum L-A, said the news of the incoming $600,000 was “absolutely fantastic.”

“Being able to preserve the history of our elders who built this community and saved the whole story of the industrial revolution in documentation form so that the future generations can use it, to me, is kind of apple-pie-type stuff,” she said.

Desgrosseilliers said she met Tuesday with architects and engineers to discuss planning for the Camden Yarns Mill, which they hope to make energy-efficient. The group began planning for community forums to be held early next year, she said.

“Right now, we’re in the pre-design phase with the architects and engineers, looking at the total concept of what the museum is going to look like, and this (funding) would be the continuation of that planning process,” she said.

Rick Cloutier, manager at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, said the $500,000 will allow the airport to handle larger aircraft, which will help spur economic growth.

“It’s really about expanding the airport to help our transportation infrastructure and attract a bunch of new jobs,” he said. “This specific money is going to be used for data collection, preliminary design and permitting an environmental assessment for a safety air and runway extension program.”

The $150,000 earmarked for CMCC will fund a start-up project aimed at making it easier for veterans to enroll in Maine colleges and universities, said Roger Philippon, dean of planning and public affairs at CMCC.

“Our goal is to develop a model that we hope would become a one-stop shop where veterans can say, ‘OK, at all the colleges in Maine, private and public, two-year and four-year, here’s how my credits would kind of work, here’s how they transfer, here are the contact people, here are the Web sites,’ so that they can make a better-informed decision on what they want to do,” Philippon said.

He said many more veterans are looking to enroll, but the process can be daunting.

“It can be kind of a maze,” he said. “It’s difficult for them to really find out how their military training and education can work for them.”

Maine’s senators both requested funding for the Museum L-A restoration, and Michaud joined them in support of securing the Lewiston waterfront redevelopment money. Michaud also requested funding for the Auburn-Lewiston airport and for CMCC’s veteran initiative.

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