David Frey, Area Youth Sports president, stands in the doorway to the kitchen of the nonprofit’s building in Livermore Falls. Local officials met Friday with representatives of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden to discuss federal funding opportunities for the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls area, given the impending closure of the paper mill in Jay. A tour of the Area Youth Sports building was included. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

LIVERMORE FALLS — Local officials met Friday afternoon with representatives of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden to discuss potential funding for the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls area in light of the impending closure of the paper mill in Jay.

“Because of what is happening in our three towns with the mill closure,” Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Educations Director Robyn Raymond said, she and Kendra Baker, executive director of United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, had conversations about grant opportunities available and “what we can do to bolster and strengthen our communities. We had reached out to Golden’s office, King, Collins, Maine Development Foundation, any resources that were available to possibly do a community action front for the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls area.”

At the same time, directors for Area Youth Sports were working to bring the building up to state fire codes. The issue was brought to light when the local United Way moved its Halloween fundraiser from Farmington to the AYS building. Sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, exit signs and lights were among items either missing or not up to code.

The building, which is the former Livermore Falls High School, will remain open for programming, President David Frey said. No one is allowed in the education wing, he said.

The building has a large kitchen that would be ideal for the adult education culinary arts program. Workforce development, child care, youth mentoring/tutoring and a conference center are other potential uses for the building.

“We would like to be helpful to the community,” Carlene Tremblay, a representative for Collins, said. “This community is going to take a big hit.”


Tremblay spoke about the process for applying for funding through Congressionally Directed Spending and said those with community support are favored.

“We want to help the community with a project that means something,” Tremblay said. “The broader the community support the better.”

Applications to Collins’ office are due March 15, with decision on approval toward the end of the year and money available in 2024, Tremblay said.

The deadline for Sen. King’s office is March 17, Ben Tucker from that office said.

This is the third year of this program and applications increased dramatically last year and are expected to increase this year, he said.

The program helps communities with needs they may not be able to otherwise raise money for, Tucker said.

Congressional processes are different, less funding is available and there are limits on what projects can be funded, Katherine Drummond of Golden’s office said.

Erica Watson of the Maine Development Foundation explained how the forestry industry worked together on how that sector might grow and move forward given the mill closures being seen around the state. Following the Jay mill closure, a collaborative approach for a Northern Border Regional Commission grant is underway locally, she added.

“The entire region can benefit,” Raymond said. “It is so timely with what is happening with the mill. We can rebuild, find new purpose for our community.”

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