NORWAY — The town has been notified that a decision on its application for up to $400,000 in state grants to help renovate storefronts in the historic Opera House has been delayed for at least a month.

According to a letter from Terry Ann Stevens of the Office of Community Development in Augusta to the 32 applicants, a decision has been delayed from Aug. 2 to mid-September because of the number of applicants.

“The response to the Communities for Maine’s Future program has been phenomenal,” Stevens said in her July 27 letter. The Department of Economic and Community Development received 39 letters of intent and 32 full applications were submitted, she said.

“We have $8.6 million in requests and only $3.5 million to award. The seven-member scoring panel needs additional time to fully evaluate and score all of the applications. Therefore we do not anticipate making award announcements before mid-September,” she said.

Norway selectmen applied for up to $400,000 last month with the intent of restoring the six first-floor storefronts in the Main Street landmark and renting them out.

The town took the three-story brick building last summer by eminent domain after a partial roof collapse in 2007 left it a public hazard. It hired a contractor to shore up the building last fall.


Earlier this month, a judge determined the town must pay former owner Barry Mazzaglia of Bitim Enterprises in Londonderry, N.H., $185,000 for it.

Town Manager David Holt said if Norway gets the money, it will renovate the storefronts over the next couple of years. Work includes plumbing, electrical, mold removal, new doors and bathrooms, sprinklers and other items.

“If we are not successful in this very competitive process, we will look for the next best alternative to see that the building is kept safe and made usable,” he said.


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