Release Date: June 14, 2019

Waterfall Arts, an active and vibrant community arts organization in Belfast, Maine, moves towards a sustainable future with the announcement of selection by the Environmental Protection Agency for one of 108 Opportunity Zone grants. This funding, with $350,000 from EPA and a $70,000 match from Waterfall Arts, will help clean up and revitalize the 84-year-old former Governor Anderson School building that houses Waterfall Arts and make energy-efficient improvements that will move the building toward a net zero facility.

Part of the EPA Brownfields program, this grant will allow Waterfall Arts to perform additional improvements in conjunction with a planned capital project to improve accessibility and energy efficiency of the existing school building. The funds will allow Waterfall Arts to remove and replace old materials—many of which are part of the original construction—with state of the art green materials, all using green remediation principles and techniques such as waste recycling/reuse and reduced energy consumption. While the materials to be removed do not currently pose a hazard to the public, removal will require proper remediation measures which are supported by this grant. Upon completion of the work, the old Governor Anderson School will be transformed into a fresh, beautiful, sustainable, and accessible home for all to experience, discuss, and create art.

Working in collaboration with Thomas Kittredge, City of Belfast’s Economic Development Director, Waterfall Arts submitted the proposal in January 2019, with the intention of building on both the city’s and the organization’s revitalization goals. Waterfall Arts’ redevelopment is aligned with the local community’s land use and revitalization plans.

David R. Lloyd, Director of EPA Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, stated, “Waterfall Arts submitted an outstanding grant proposal and we deeply appreciate the tremendous commitment of time and energy that went into its preparation.”

Waterfall Arts’ Executive Director Kim Fleming, says, “We’re thrilled by the timeliness of this funding from the EPA and thank Thomas Kittredge and Senators Collins and King for their support. It couldn’t come at a better time as Waterfall moves forward with our plans for capital improvements for our beloved facility.”

The grant activities include community outreach and engagement prior to the cleanup and revitalization effort. Waterfall Arts will work closely with the City, EPA, and Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection in developing the final work plans.

Launched in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that offers resources to students, professionals, and arts enthusiasts of all ages. Opportunities include classes, exhibitions, art events, performances, open community studios (clay, print, and darkroom photography), public art projects, and more.

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