“It’s done,” Gov. John Baldacci proclaimed shortly after 3 p.m. Friday, referring to the closing of the deal that turns the former Georgia-Pacific mill in Old Town over to its new ownership.
“We wish this would have happened weeks and months ago,” the governor continued. “Good things are worth waiting for.”
The governor and other state officials are expected to be in Old Town Saturday to introduce the new owner to the community and meet with mill workers and city officials.
“I was really pleased that this day has occurred. It’s a new day for Old Town and the state of Maine,” Baldacci said.
Red Shield Environmental LLC is purchasing the former Georgia-Pacific Corp. mill.
In addition to Red Shield, which will manage the facility, three other companies have signed on to the G-P mill redevelopment project.
Tamarack Energy, a renewable energy developer, will operate the biomass boiler. The plan is to first produce electricity to sell on the power grid and then convert the boiler to produce ethanol.
The other companies are Lamtec Inc., a maker of pressure-sensitive labels, and Hallowell International LLC, a low-temperature heat pump manufacturer.
Ed Paslawski of Red Shield LLC said, “We look forward to working in the community and beginning the hiring process. We appreciate the support of Governor Baldacci and Department of Economic Development Director Jack Cashman. This deal would not have happened without them and strong collaboration of the union, town manager, legislative leadership and area legislators.
“We are confident all our expectations will be realized. Our plans are for energy-dependent businesses to be located on our campus. We are encouraged by the number of inquiries we have had this week by potential tenants.”
The evolution of the G-P mill involves redevelopment of the site and diversifying the town and region’s economic base, officials said.
The goal is that after the full ramp-up of additional operations at the mill, employment numbers will exceed those of a year ago.
About 50 employees are expected to be hired before the end of the year.
“I made it a priority of my administration to find a solution that is beneficial to the people of Old Town and the region,” said Baldacci. “This sale meets these expectations. I want to recognize the tremendous support in the community for the mill workers. It’s a great day for the community and for the state.”