EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — A Millinocket resident’s new business has helped relieve town government of a $153,000 obligation created in 2006 by the renovation of the town-owned shell building, town officials said.
By starting his scrap-metal recovery business in the former Porter’s Woodworking Co. building off Route 157 and employing at least three people, Galen Hale has fulfilled an agreement with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said Mark Scally, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
To help Hale open the business, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved giving the business a $10,000 loan, Scally said.
“When he first approached us, our feeling was that if he can create those jobs we will help him,” Scally said Tuesday. “That [loan] money was put there for [economic development] in the first place.”
The $153,000 was from Community Development Block Grant funds that paid for the town’s engineering studies and for some building construction that helped finish the structure in 2006.
Under an arrangement with DECD, the town would have had to pay back $30,000 of the grant in July 2010, but that payment was deferred by DECD so the town could have more time to find a tenant. Now that Hale has opened a business there, the debt has been forgiven, Scally said.
One of the largest buildings in the town industrial park off Route 157, it is called the shell building because for many years it was just walls and a roof.
Porter’s Woodworking Co. moved into the building in mid-2006. The company came to East Millinocket after a fire on July 20, 2005, destroyed a mill that included a planer and woodcutter, plus paddle-making machinery and a wood laminator at the company’s former location on Shin Pond Road in Patten.
Porter’s closed within a year of the move.
Hale declined to comment on his new business when approached about it at the building late last week.
Selectmen liked Hale’s chances for success, Scally said.
Hale is a smart, hardworking businessman and in the building will enjoy a fairly centralized location from which to collect scrap metal from municipalities and residents in the Katahdin region, Scally said.
The town and its former economic development agency, Magic, had tried for years to get a tenant in the building without success.
At one point the town hoped to get the building leased for about $2,200 a month. The building features three-stage electrical power, radiant floor heat, a separate wood finishing room, office space and bathrooms and is within 50 feet of a freight rail line.