PORTLAND -- The Cumberland County Commissioners are taking their show on the road.Cumberland County Government announced on Monday a schedule of upcoming County Commissioner meetings in unique sites across the region, spanning from May to September.The commissioners normally meet on the second Monday of each month at the County Courthouse in Portland, represented by Commissioner James Cloutier. During the “2018 Summer Tour,” the other four commissioners will each host a meeting within their district, at a site where Federal Community Development Block Grant funding has been applied to a recent or upcoming project.“We’re really proud of all of the work that the CDBG program has supported across Cumberland County,” said Commission Chair Neil Jamieson, District 1. “But since we cover such a wide geographic area, it can be difficult to get a full understanding of how far these resources really go. This tour will give us all of us a chance to see the block grant funds in action, and also introduce county government directly to the people we serve.”The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It provides annual grants on a formula basis for development projects that improve community spaces and boost economic development, with a focus on low- to moderate-income residents.Through a unique regional compact, Cumberland County government administers the grant program for 25 cities and towns within the county. HUD issues an annual allotment directly to the county, and member communities form a board to review applications from towns and agencies. The board distributes funds through a competitive process that ranks projects based on their readiness, worthiness and impact on the region. Cumberland County is the only county in New England that is an entitlement community for CDBG.Funds from the CDBG program have supported a diverse range of projects, from building sidewalks, ADA accessible ramps, parks and recreation facilities to rehabilitation of group homes and meeting sites, and supporting programming for immigrants through the Opportunity Alliance.In addition to touring CDBG-funded projects, the commissioners will hold a regular meeting and discuss countywide initiatives under development this year. Commissioners have also invited local non-profit, charitable and municipal organizations to present their work in the community.“There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in Cumberland County,” Jamieson said. “We’re excited to share some of the collaborative projects underway between county government and the towns. We’re also looking forward to hearing about the critical services that local non-profits and municipalities are providing in every corner of our community.”The first meeting will take place on Monday, May 14 at Redbank Community Center in South Portland. The Redbank Community Center is a vital gathering space and program location for the Redbank/Brickhill area, providing recreation, after school programming for youth, and community meals. CDBG funds sponsored a renovation to install new gym floors, bleachers, and basketball hoops, a kitchen renovation to make the space handicap accessible, and a roof replacement.A full schedule for the 2018 Summer Tour is as follows:
May 14 - District 4 - Redbank Community Center, South Portland. 6pm-7pm.
June 11 - District 3 - Bailey Island Library Hall, Harpswell. 6pm-7pm.
July 09 - District 2 - New Community Park, Casco. 6pm-7pm.
August - No meeting scheduled.
Sept 10 - District 1 - Old Town Hall, Bridgton. 6pm-7pm.
More details about the highlighted projects, and community groups attending to present will be announced ahead of each date.