April 08, 2020

Ellsworth tears down building near boat dock Councilors unsure if land will be redeveloped

ELLSWORTH – The city recently tore down a building near the municipal dock on the Union River, but so far it doesn’t have plans to redevelop the half-acre property.

In the meantime, City Council chairman Gary Fortier said Tuesday that the property likely will be used for auxiliary parking, but it could be used down the line for wastewater storage.

“If we don’t get approved for funding for a new wastewater treatment plant, this area would be valuable as for a storage system,” Fortier said.

The city bought the former Schaeffer property on Water Street at an auction in 1999, mostly because of its proximity to the boat landing.

Even then, the building on the property was in rough shape and littered with asbestos, but it remained standing until last week.

Fortier said the city had leased a part of the building for storage until recently.

The location of the site fits into the city’s plans to revitalize the waterfront, which Fortier said is synonymous with Ellsworth’s history.

“It’s an area that is heavily utilized, but I’m not sure it’s utilized in the best possible way for the city and its residents,” he said.

But before the property is considered for redevelopment, Ellsworth needs to square away its pending need for a new wastewater treatment facility, which will come with a $13 million price tag.

The city is trying to find funding for the project. Meanwhile, though, the existing plant is nearing its capacity.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens with funding,” Fortier said.

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