MOUNT DESERT — A group of year-round and seasonal residents has formed two private, nonprofit corporations to provide financial backing for business and community development projects.
The Mount Desert Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will support “business retention and attraction, entrepreneurship and small business development, along with other activities to foster a healthy and sustainable year-round community,” said Jackie Hewitt, the town’s economic development consultant.
She said the other new corporation, the Mount Desert Community Development Corporation (CDC), will improve the “vitality and livability” of the town through “enhancement of public spaces, infrastructure improvements, preservation of historic structures and other efforts that shape the character of the community.”
The corporations are outgrowths of the town’s ad hoc economic development committee.
“There has always been a concern about the ability of private donors to assist in individual projects in town, whether they are infrastructure projects like parks or helping the business community,” Hewitt said. “This is creating a method for doing that.”
Both corporations have applied to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for nonprofit status.
Hewitt said the CDC could help fund some components of the Northeast Harbor Village Center Plan that was developed last year and endorsed by the Board of Selectmen. The plan calls for a “pass-through park” to create a pedestrian connection between Main Street and Tracy Road and a park overlooking the marina at the edge of the municipal parking lot above the town hall.
As for the EDC, Hewitt said it could build a fund to help new businesses get established, “whether that’s assistance with start-up funds, helping with business plans or helping to find a location.”
She said the EDC could help existing businesses with things like expanding or upgrading their facilities.
“Broadband would be another thing for the Community Development Corporation to address because that really is a community need,” Hewitt said.
The two new corporations have a common board whose members are Nancy Ho, owner of the Kimball Shop in Northeast Harbor; Mount Desert resident Dan McKay; Don Graves, president of the Mount Desert Summer Residents Association; and seasonal resident John Boynton. He and his wife, Johanna, rebuilt 123 Main St. in Northeast Harbor last year and plan to develop other Main Street properties.
Ex-officio members of the corporations’ boards are Town Manager Durlin Lunt and Selectmen Martha Dudman and Matt Hart.
The CDC is applying to the IRS for 501(c)(3) status. Such organizations can fund charitable causes or projects for the common good but may not support individual businesses. Contributions to 501(c)(3) corporations are tax deductible.
The EDC is seeking 501(c)(4) status. Contributions to such organizations are not tax deductible.