FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to give $17,750 as a grant from the county’s tax-increment financing funds to the Maine High Peaks Alliance, for a trail mapping project. 

The Tax-Increment Financing Application Review Committee gave the project 61 out of 65 points, said Alison Hagerstrom who, along with County Clerk Julie Magoon, facilitates the committee. Hagerstrom is the executive director of the Greater Franklin Development Council. She and Magoon do not vote on the project applications.

High Peaks Alliance is developing a high peaks gazetteer, Hagerstrom said. There will be digital and hard copies of the maps. The alliance plans to work with other groups, including conservation organizations, recreational groups, businesses, land owners, and community leaders, in the process of developing the project.

“The maps will be developed with input from our partners and shared with diverse stakeholders, as a tool to improve the quality of trails network, and its benefits to the nature-based tourism economy of the region,” according to the alliance’s proposal. 

According to the proposal, the potential outcomes of the project include:

• Better landowner relations;

• Stronger and more efficient trail groups;

• Better maintained and integrated trails systems, identification of priority parcels for conservation, public access and community forests; and

• Enhanced connectivity with businesses that support and depend on the recreation economy.

The project is estimated to cost $82,000, Hagerstrom said.

Of that amount, $9,000 will come from High Peaks Alliance; $6,000 from Maine Conservation Corps-AmeriCorps; $2,5000 from Maine Appalachian Trail Trust; and $17,000 from The Wilderness Society. Pending is $29,750 from Maine Outdoor Heritage & Jesse Cox Trust.

The county’s TIF agreement, which mainly benefits the unorganized territory, unless it benefits the entire county, was set up when the county entered into an agreement with TransCanada Maine Wind Development for the 44-turbine wind energy facility in Kibby and Skinner townships.

Serving on the Tax-Increment Financing Application Review Committee are unorganized territory residents Richard Fotter, Gary Perlson, Bob Carlton, Leanna Targett and Billy Gilmore.

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