BANGOR – Speaking at an Action Committee of 50 meeting in Bangor this week, the senior land asset manager in Maine for Plum Creek Land Co. stressed the potential for his firm’s proposed development to contribute to the regional economy and in particular the Greenville area.
Luke Muzzy gave a presentation Wednesday morning at Husson College on the economic development and environmental conservation efforts Plum Creek is making in its rezoning proposal.
The proposal, under review by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, calls for the construction of two resorts and 975 residential lots in the Moosehead Lake Region.
Muzzy, a seventh generation Greenville resident, discussed the project’s potential contributions to the area economy, emphasizing Greenville’s struggling school system and hospital.
“There is a population decline of 17.6 percent in Greenville,” Muzzy said, citing a study performed by Eastern Maine Development Corp. “I had 49 kids in my high school class, my daughter has 20 kids in her class and our third grade has 8 kids in it. It’s bleak.”
Muzzy said increased tourism from the Plum Creek development would bring revenue to the hospital and to local businesses. The Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville is a large regional employer but currently runs at 40 percent of its capacity, Muzzy said. A hospital administrator confirmed that statistic.
Muzzy said that aside from the resorts, there will be no commercial use of the land Plum Creek hopes to develop.
“You won’t see gas stations or IGAs popping up all over,” he said.
But Muzzy said he was concerned that resort staff would not be able to afford to live in the area if the development should raise local property values.
Plum Creek contracted Eastern Maine Development Corp., a non-profit organization that supports and assists economic development efforts in Eastern Maine, to conduct a community and infrastructure impact analysis. The study concluded the project would require 160 affordable housing units.
Jonathan Daniels, president and CEO of EMDC, said the resorts may include housing for seasonal workers in their tourist accommodations.
Daniels said his organization is not taking a position for or against the controversial development.
“We continue to underscore the need in the region for affordable housing,” Daniels said. “The appraised value goes up as the resorts are coming in.”