CORINNA – Selectmen have hired a landscape architecture firm that planners hope will help them work toward developing a marketing and development niche.
Gates, Leighton and Associates Inc. of Boothbay Harbor is charged with defining the community’s potential and developing a plan to achieve it after the leveling of the Eastland Woolen Mill.
The firm was hired with grant money from EPA’s Superfund redevelopment program.
The town was awarded $82,500 to assist in the town’s recovery from the EPA cleanup under way in the heart of the community.
Engineering is expected to cost up to $60,500, according to Town Manager Judy Doore.
When EPA leaves, the Eastland site will be little more than a vacant lot.
“They will look at what we have and design something attractive in keeping with a New England village concept and historical nature of the town,” said Linda Smith, chairman of the town’s revitalization committee.
She cited four historic buildings next to the vacant space.
“We don’t want anything too commercial, but something inviting, a refreshing place where people will want to stop.”
A park is an important part of the redevelopment of the 21-acre site where the mill once sat, Smith said.
She emphasized that the plan for redevelopment will be a concept only. The firm’s work is intended to identify the types of services and business the community can hope to attract to construct buildings and rebuild a vital community center.
The plan for the layout of a new village and the location of Route 7, reviewed by community members before the cleanup began, will be used as a guide in the design of a redevelopment plan, Doore said.
“It will be slightly different,” she said, explaining the Mill Pond will not be developed and the new Route 7 will be straighter than expected because of the contamination found beneath the original site.
Local officials hope the firm will complete a marketing study, site plan, proposed regulatory policies and financial incentives, a concept and action plan as outlined in its proposal by September 2001, Doore said.
The EPA cleanup is removing hazardous chemicals used in woolen manufacturing dumped into the Sebasticook River for years and embedded deep in the soils surrounding the mill site and the village area.
With the cleanup in full swing, the center of Corinna has the appearance of a war zone. A mountain of contaminated soil awaits processing on the former mill site. Remnants of Main Street snake through the area, allowing travelers on Route 7 to pass through the construction site.
Work has started to redirect Route 7 through the community and over a new bridge on the Sebasticook River.
“There’s going to be a lot of flat space there,” Smith said Tuesday. “We just want to keep moving forward.”