The town of Houlton grants its first microcredit to UnContained Art

The Town of Houlton has given its very first micro-loan to a new downtown business.

HOULTON, Maine – The town of Houlton granted its very first microcredit to a new downtown business.

Houlton City Council members approved a $ 5,000 loan for UnContained Art LLC, located at 82 Main Street, at their regular council meeting on December 13. is a community art center which hosts several events such as basket weaving and a guitar building class, and after-school programs for children to discover their more artistic side.

“The objective of this program is to help businesses located in the downtown TIF district with working capital,” said Nancy Ketch, director of economic and community development for the city.

Funds for the microcredit program came from a District of Tax Increment Finance that was created specifically for downtown Houlton. This fund also covers two other programs – a revolving loan fund for loans between $ 5,000 and $ 100,000 and a downtown facade grant program.

The microloans are meant to be used to cover start-up costs and as working capital for businesses, Ketch said. Loans cannot be used to purchase property or building improvements, as this set of criteria falls under a different city grant program.

The interest rate is prime at the time of closing and fixed for the term of the loan, with a maximum of five years.

To qualify, applicants must not have any unpaid property taxes, fees, judgments, or liens on the Town of Houlton, and have no outstanding code violations – unless the loan is intended to repair the violation. Loan recipients also agree to place a downtown TIF sign on the construction site during the upgrade period and in their store window for 180 days after project completion.

Applicants must submit a Letter of Intent and Project Outline to the Director of Community Development to confirm compliance with the microcredit program and local ordinances. An application package is then submitted to the Northern Maine Development Commission, who will review the application to ensure it is complete and process the loan application.

“The loan payments will go back to the fund, so it can be perpetuated,” Ketch said. “The idea of ​​the fund is to help downtown businesses open, expand or improve their properties.

For more information on the microcredit program, contact Ketch at 207-521-5938.

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