Pittsfield nears finish of industrial park expansion

Posted Dec. 08, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Work on a major expansion of the Pittsfield Industrial Park is nearly complete, and the town is poised for an aggressive effort to begin filling six new lots there beginning in January.

Roads, along with sewer and water pipes, were installed over the summer. On Tuesday, the Pittsfield Town Council authorized a contract with Nitram Excavation and General Contractor Inc. of Benton for the installation of electrical service. Because of favorable pricing so far in the project, roads in the older part of the park will be resurfaced and paved, according to Town Manager Kathryn Ruth.

“We’re almost ready to start selling these lots,” she said.

The project’s history stretches back 20 years to 1990, when the town purchased the land. A recession and a lack of funds to develop the land put the project in limbo until last year, when the town won an $880,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Agency. That, along with $220,000 from another grant previously won by the town, has paid for the total cost of the expansion, said Ruth.

Some businesses have already inspected the properties, but Ruth said none has been sold thus far. She said the town intends to embark on a wide-reaching marketing campaign, which will include advertisements and reaching out to individual businesses next month. According to the town’s website, the new lots range from approximately 2 to 4 acres in size with price tags ranging from $22,000 to $44,000. Financial incentives such as tax increment financing and Pine Tree Economic Development Zone benefits are available.

In other business, the council approved borrowing money for a $483,000 water infrastructure project. The project, which involves replacing a broken river crossing near Waverly Avenue, is supported by the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. Ruth said bid documents would be ready by spring, with the intention of the job being done next summer.

The town is also using bonded funds left over from a water pump project to repair roof hatches at the water treatment plant that have recently started leaking. That project will not exceed $13,600, according to the council’s approval.

“We can either pay the unused amount back and try to do these repairs out of our budget or just do it now,” said Ruth. “This is a 20-year loan at zero percent interest. You don’t get an opportunity like this very often.”

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