ORONO – The University of Maine System will receive a grant of $454,532 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to create the Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center, which will establish a center for forest industry partners, trade organization, construction firms, architects, and other key stakeholders to revitalize and diversify Maine’s forest-based economy by advancing new forest products technologies and bringing innovative mass timber manufacturing to Maine.
The funding for the Center is a direct result of the Economic Development Assessment Team’s (EDAT) January assessment that outlined strategies to leverage federal resources to redevelop former industrial sites and support the viability of affected mill communities to grow Maine’s rural economy. The EDAT was originally requested in March 2016 by Senators Susan Collins and Angus King.
“Maine’s forest products industry helps drive local economies throughout our state. By establishing the Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center, UMaine and its forest industry partners are furthering important work to discover innovative ways to develop new forest products from our natural resources,” said Collins and King in a joint statement. “This grant will help strengthen Maine’s forest economy, support jobs in our rural communities, and further diversify the industry. The possibilities are endless with the introduction of new technology and ingenuity.”
The EDAT – an integrated, multiagency team – brought together local, state, federal, and industry partners to work together to build a bottom-up strategy to foster innovation and commercialization for the future of Maine’s forest-based economy. The report released in January represented the culmination of those efforts and was accompanied by over $1.5 million in federal grants aimed at addressing critical needs.
The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center aims to boost the local and regional economy in Penobscot County and throughout rural Maine. The Center will partner with industrial partners in the area, construction firms and architects, trade organizations, and regional stakeholders to develop new forestry technologies.