OLD TOWN, Maine — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $600,000 brownfields grant that will allow the city to clean up the asbestos-ridden historic Old Town Canoe building.
City officials were notified of the grant approval on Thursday.
Old Town Canoe occupied the 5.5-acre downtown site from 1902 until it relocated to a new facility in 2009. The red multistory, 260,000-square-foot building has remained vacant ever since.
The grant will go toward removing asbestos and other hazardous wastes from the building, as well as capping soil contaminated by years of industrial operations on the land, before renovations begin.
“These funds will allow us to appropriately clean up this site, so that it will attract redevelopment, as it is arguably the most visible site with the most redevelopment potential in the downtown area,” City Manager Bill Mayo said in the town’s grant application. “Ultimately, the goal is to return this otherwise distressed, abandoned and environmentally stigmatized site back to viable and sustainable reuse.”