LINCOLN – Gov. John Baldacci and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snow are among dignitaries scheduled to be on hand Friday when Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC’s new $36 million tissue machine is formally dedicated, officials said Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud and a host of state and local government representatives also are expected at the invitation-only event at the mill, company officials said.
The ribbon-cutting is the culmination of a year of construction work, the rebirth of the Eastern Pulp and Paper Co. site and the ascendancy of LP&T as one of the prime economic anchors to the Lincoln Lakes region.
“Lincoln is definitely a success story,” Town Manager Glenn Aho said Wednesday. “From Kittery to Madawaska, everyone knows about the installation of the tissue machine, and everywhere I go, it’s the focus of conversation.”
Former Connecticut residents Keith Van Scotter and his business partner, John Wissman, were among several potential investors lured to Maine by Baldacci and state economic development officials in the wake of Eastern’s shutdown on Jan. 16, 2004.
The two investors completed their $23.7 million purchase of the plant in May 2004.
Town and state officials helped make the investment and company’s future more secure by giving the company $6.8 million in tax breaks over the next 20 years under a TIF agreement. The town will get $6.4 million in economic improvement funds, including funds for its first industrial park, as part of the deal, which the Town Council unanimously approved last fall.
Seen as a key element in the pulp, paper and tissue mill’s plans, the tissue machine’s activation will double the plant’s capacity from 50 to 100 tons a day of white tissue. It added about 40 full-time workers to the plant’s 354-member, $21 million payroll, and will alleviate the workload on the plant’s two 50-ton-capacity tissue machines, company officials said when the expansion was announced a year ago.
The hour-long dedication led by Van Scotter and Wissman will be followed by brief tours of the new machine.