MILLINOCKET, Maine — Work began this week on an addition to the Katahdin Valley Health Center building at 50 Summer St. that town officials say is part of plans that could bring as many as 20 jobs into downtown.
The work, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said, began Tuesday and was going full bore on Thursday, with crews having dug out the foundation for the addition to the building.
“It’s very important to us,” Conlogue said Thursday. “This is the first new building on the Penobscot Avenue [block] in several decades.
“These jobs,” Conlogue added, “to the degree that they are full-time, will provide people the kind of good-paying jobs that people want and this area needs.”
Durwood Humphrey, executive director of the Patten-based KVHC organization, declined to comment on the project Thursday.
The work hasn’t encountered any problems so far, said Rob McNally, superintendent for the Penobscot Co., the project’s general contractor.
“But it’s early,” McNally said with a smile. “You know how these things go.”
McNally said the work was scheduled to be finished by August and would continue through the winter as weather permits.
The 50 Summer St. location, a dental clinic, apparently is part of expansion plans that include the KVHC clinic at 180 Aroostook Ave., a medical center that adjoins but is not physically connected to the dental clinic.
KVHC was the beneficiary of a $5.05 million grant awarded in October under the federal Affordable Care Act that will allow expansion at its clinics in Bangor, Houlton and Millinocket this year, federal officials have said. The grant and expansions will allow the clinics to serve 14,574 new patients.
The grant gave the Millinocket facilities $2.9 million with which to renovate and expand.
Town Councilor Michael Madore said during a council meeting on Thursday that he believed the construction is the first new work on downtown’s main street since the 1960s, when the town’s bowling alley on Penobscot Avenue was built.