DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Following a Sept. 10 special town meeting in which residents gave their approval to establishing a municipal Tax Increment Financing district for the Riverfront Redevelopment project at the former Moosehead-Mayo mill site along the Piscataquis River downtown, Town Manager Jack Clukey provided the Board of Selectmen with an update on the presentation of the project site plan to the Dover-Foxcroft planning board several days earlier.
“There was a good discussion and they have a long list of things that need to be submitted,” Clukey said, adding that much of the site plan criteria has been met but some items still need to be completed. “We are in a position where we think they are considering acting on the fourth [of October]. They are eager to move on with the permitting.”
Among the criteria needing some additional work before the planning board’s review is preparedness certification for the 100-year floodplain, a lighting plan and how site residences would fall under subdivision guidelines.
The $10 million to $12 million Riverfront Redevelopment property is currently owned by the Pine Crest Business Park. That organization and the town are working with Arnold Development of Kansas City, Mo., to convert the site for mixed uses such as business, retail and housing.
“We have been able to do our Project Canopy planting down at Moosehead,” Clukey said of another initiative to improve the site, using funds from an $8,000 grant.
“It looks really nice and really for the first time you can stand down at Moosehead and see the river,” he said, adding that bushes and shrubs and several berms have been removed, with new trees planted on the leveled ground and more to come.
Farther down the Piscataquis River another large-scale project has been the cleanup of the former Maine Leathers Tannery using $600,000 in brownfield cleanup funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s absolutely lovely and you can really see the potential,” said Cindy Freeman Cyr, vice chairman of the Board of Selectmen, who along with several board members toured the site recently. “There’s access to the river and it will really help our community.”
On another matter, board member Gail D’Agostino mentioned how the town of Monson recently passed a six-month moratorium on private corridors, which she said gives the community some time to further evaluate the pros and cons of an east-west highway. “I’m just wondering if at one point we might talk about that,” she said. “I would like to be able to explore that, not just for this specific project but for anything,” D’Agostino said, referring to moratoriums.
Clukey said Dover-Foxcroft does have experience in moratoriums, such as one on mobile home parks and subdivisions passed back in 2009 as the planning board was working on the Land Use Ordinance before it was put up for a vote later that year.
He said the planning board could be asked for its members’ input on how a major construction project such as the east-west corridor would relate to the town’s standards. Clukey said if the east-west project progresses, Dover-Foxcroft could look to other communities affected to see if forming a partnership would be advantageous.
“I think we need to stay focused and concerned and proactive about it,” Freeman Cyr said of the east-west corridor.
Clukey informed the board that the town recently came in third for its population group in the Excellence Award judging in the 2012 Maine Municipal Association Municipal Report Competition. He said a plaque signifies the recognition and that “it was really a group effort” as the town report was put together in house and many of the other entries were outsourced to professional printing services. Clukey said about $2,000 was saved by assembling the report together in house.
“Just about everybody in the office had a hand in it, and even a few people outside the office,” Finance Director Dave Johnson said.
Clukey also discussed the name for the road on Foxcroft Academy’s campus leading to the two dormitories.
“We were presented last time with six suggestions and Foxcroft Academy was happy with Academy Drive,” he said.
He added that he has met with Foxcroft Academy officials and contacted the Maine Department of Transportation regarding the installation of crosswalks by the tennis courts and near the dorms on the south side of West Main Street.