GREENVILLE — Several development projects are under way in Greenville that could bring promising results in the Moosehead Lake Region within the next few years.
Updates on those projects were given recently by the Greenville Economic Development Committee.
Reflecting on that meeting, Town Manager David Cota said, “It’s exciting. We’ve been fortunate in Greenville in that we have a supportive board of selectmen and also, an amazing, in my judgment, a wonderful economic development committee that has a lot of subcommittees working on these projects.”
Cota said all of the projects involve a lot of private or public investment.
The concept of an orientation center that would educate visitors about the natural resources that abound in the region moved one step closer to reality when a consultant was hired to help in the development. The Orientation Center Committee will hold its first meeting with consultants from Land Design of Ellsworth later this week.
Regarding improvements to the Industrial Park, Cota said the town was completing a land purchase, essentially buying out the mortgage on the property held by Greenville Steam Co. He said the town owns 30 acres of vacant lots in the park on which Greenville Steam Co. holds the mortgage. The mortgage buyout of about $32,000, the construction of a bridge and roads in the park are funded through a grant awarded to the town. He said he hopes the town will own clear title to the remaining lots by March.
Cota said Sebago Technics, an engineering firm hired by the town, is developing the bid specifications for the two park projects: one for the construction of a bridge and the other for road improvements. He projected that the bids would be solicited in March.
The first draft of the downtown improvement plan and business plan that addresses parking, funding for the steamship Katahdin and assistance for businesses has been completed by Eastern Maine Development District. EMDD officials will meet with the committee to discuss the plan later this week. After the plan has been reviewed, a hearing will be held for public input.
“The improvements to the downtown are not going to happen overnight, but what’s so wonderful about this project is that we’re talking about it, the community is talking about it,” Cota said.
That plan also includes the construction of a boardwalk with a landscaped parking lot running behind the old bank building to the Katahdin.
“We’re dreaming, but you’ve got to start somewhere. It might be five years down the road, but if you get a committee of energetic people with a vision, go through a public hearing process so that you involve the citizens, they have to buy into it, the town has to buy into, if the town is committed, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen,” Cota said.
The $3.6 million Greenville Wood Products Inc. hardwood panel mill is expected to begin operation by next summer. Cota said the panel mill developers will have the necessary funding for the escrow account, required by the town, by mid-February.