July 09, 2020

Bucks Harbor closure

Thank you for your insightful editorial in the Aug. 23-24 weekend edition.

As a regional economic development organization serving Washington County, a job loss of the magnitude created by the closure of the Bucks Harbor facility is of great concern to us, not only because of the direct loss to those affected families and the economic hardship in the area, but because we understand how difficult those jobs will be to replace.

When you compare jobs to the population, losing these 72 jobs in Machiasport would be like losing 780 jobs in Windham, 190 jobs in Warren. Would any study seriously recommend doing this type of economic damage on one hand for the sake of efficiency on the other?

We have been working closely with the Governor’s Cabinet Subcommittee on Economic Development, which has made some long-term targeted investments in our region’s economy. This sincere and well-intended effort by one interest of state government is at cross purposes with the recommendations of this study. Closing the Bucks Harbor facility would undo much of the good of those state government investments.

Your suggestion that Washington County be the site of a consolidated prison, if one is to be built, is right on target. The efficiency of the Bucks Harbor facility should be duplicated rather than eliminated, rewarded rather than dismissed. And how can the state expect a business or industry to locate here, when they are not willing to do the same?

Our only hope is for the common sense of Sandra Prescott and others like her to prevail. We must insist that the advisory committee carefully consider all economic impacts of a closure in Bucks Harbor, not just on the corrections system, but on the state as a whole. Dianne Tilton Executive director Sunrise County Economic Council Machias

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