Letter to the Editor: Dear People of Machias

Dear People of Machias,

This Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Pellon Center, there will be a vote by Machias residents as to whether the town should lend its support to a new business applying for a state-funded Community Development Block Grant.

The business, a small farm-to-table restaurant, taproom, and micro-brewery called Bad Little Brewing Company, is the result of over two years work and planning by myself and my husband Sean, both career teachers from downstate, and a lot of other folks from business advisors to craftsmen, many from right here.

While we purchased our “new” home on North Street last year, we have also purchased the historic Clark-Perry House on Court Street, aka Emma Means House, which we have begun to renovate and restore to its former glory.

The cost of this endeavor is $980,000 and is being funded through a combination of our own savings, as well as loans from Northern Maine Development Corporation, CEI, and others. As part of that $980,000, we have the opportunity to receive up to $180,000 from a state-funded grant, which is “forgiven” as soon as we hire six employees, which is well within our immediate plan.

In order to be able to apply for this state grant, the town needs to “guarantee” the funds. While this may seem unusual, dozens of communities in Maine take advantage of this state program each year. In fact, of the thousands of CDBG grants the state has issued over the years, not a single one has ever had to be “covered” by a town. Not one.

Nonetheless, we will sign to be personally liable with the town, as well as give the town a lien on the equipment that will be purchased with these proceeds for extra measure.

We have been fortunate enough to get to know many of you over the last two years and share with you our love for this area, and for this community. We said early on we wanted to make this our home, which we have. And we’ve pledged to help support its vibrance and revitalization, by restoring one of its most important historic properties, and through business development. Bad Little Brewing Company will support not just our patrons from here and away, but this area’s many other businesses as well, from retail to lodging to other restaurants. And of course, we will create jobs.

So why the letter?

Because there is factually incorrect information being spread around town, and we’re hoping this fixes some of that.

Because this state grant is a critical part of the overall business and restoration project, and one vote, maybe yours, could mean the difference.

Because if this commitment to the Machias community, through historic restoration as well as business development, is something you support, then we really need you to take just a few minutes and show up and vote.

If you’d like to ask us any questions, we’d love to chat with you. And of course, we, as well as town manager Christine Therrien will be at the meeting to explain anything further.

You may contact us with questions by calling 207-749-6474, or email us at [email protected].

We hope to see you at the Lee Pellon Center on Wednesday, May 12, at 6 p.m. And if you don’t live in Machias, please share this with someone who does!

 

                                                                                                Kathryn Toppan and Sean Lent

                                                                                                Machias

 

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