HOULTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- The impact of the federal government shutdown continues to be felt across parts of our state. Now many projects that are counting on federal dollars are facing uncertain futures.
One of those projects would upgrade the heating system at the Region Two School for Applied Technology in Houlton. The school teaches trade skills to high school students and is in the midst of putting in two new wood pellet boilers for the winter season. The problem is now the school can't get the federal money it was promised to help pay for the project.
'Region Two' was awarded the $25,000 grant just this week. The federal money was pledged by Rural Development, which is a program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
After a lengthy application process, school leaders got word they would receive the grant. A contractor then began work to put in the new boiler. Now because of the federal shut down, rural developments offices are closed and 'Region Two' directors say they won't be able to collect the grant until the situation is resolved.
They say the school has already paid the remaining cost for the boiler, which is $44,000. Directors say thankfully the contractor putting it in has agreed to finish the job.
"Out of good faith he's been doing the work and somehow we got to have him paid...and that's the part that worries me is how long will this go on," said David Keaton, who is the director of 'Region Two,' "because we need to pay our bills...and we need to make sure that people that work for us are paid accordingly."
'Region Two's' project was just one of several across Maine that was being aided by rural development. In all groups in the state were supposed to receive more than $1.2 million in support from the U.S.D.A.