Spend Knox County ARP money on affordable housing, robust broadband

Thu, 10/14/2021 - 8:15pm

The following letter was sent to Knox County Administrator Andrew Hart and County Commissioners prior to their Oct. 12 meeting:

The deadly pandemic has caused and continues to cause death, illness, and great hardships for many County residents. This pandemic has exacerbated two critical County infrastructure weaknesses: (1) the lack of affordable housing with professional support for the most vulnerable populations and (2) the lack of robust broadband which measurably limits/precludes vital and reliable remote learning, tele-health, work, and family connectedness.

I am proud of the wise and collaborative local solutions, with independent data documenting the needs, by nonprofit, town, and citizen leadership.

I am writing in strong support of your approval of ARP funds for:

1) the $4.1 million grant request from the Knox County Homeless Coalition, Midcoast Habitat for Humanity, and Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation; and

2) the $750,000 grant request for the broadband/Pathway Project Phase I from Rockport and the nonprofit Midcoast Internet Development Corporation. Both will significantly correct vital infrastructure weaknesses.

Both will benefit significant County populations including residents in crisis and residents unserved and underserved by broadband. Both will broadly help patients and health care providers, children and families, workers, businesses, and current and future generations. Each has wide support of citizens, non-profit groups, and other local leadership including the towns of Camden, Thomaston, and others. I further base my support on decades of work in healthcare and business as well as volunteer and board work for non-profits including homeless shelters, clinics, churches, and public libraries.

Thank you for your consideration and approval of these critical plans to measurably improve County lives, livelihoods, and future.

C. N. Griffiths lives in Camden