ROCKLAND, Maine — A little more than two weeks after a Walmart Supercenter opened several hundred yards over the town line in Thomaston, Rockland officials will hold a meeting to focus on economic development.
The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6:30 Monday evening at City Hall, within sight of the extensive development in neighboring Thomaston.
A memorandum from Community Development Director John Holden to the city manager pointed out that Rockland, in general, has limited areas for future commercial development. The Industrial Park is nearly full, he stated in his report.
One area where there is potential for development is the west side of the city near the Thomaston line, Holden concluded.
“Given the recent land use changes [in Thomaston] and the data, it appears that the west side is likely to see [and perhaps has] increased opportunity or pressure for commercial development,” he stated.
The stretch of Route 1 in Thomaston where Walmart built has seen significant commercial development in the past decade. A major reconstruction of the road was done in 2007 by the town and state at a price tag of about $5 million.
Flagship Cinemas was built in 1999 with seven screens and expanded to 10 screens in 2002. The Midcoast Federal Credit Union opened a branch in the past decade. The 85-room Hampton Inn and Suites opened in 2006; Applebee’s restaurant in 2007; Dunkin’ Donuts in 2008; Lowe’s home improvement store in 2008; and a convenience store, gas station and McDonald’s restaurant at the end of 2011. A tractor supply store is also moving in next to Walmart.
The Monday evening meeting also comes nearly two months after councilors met in a closed-door session in which City Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said Holden made a presentation about the possibility of marketing the land where City Hall and the public works garage are located. City Hall is located on 14 acres, adjacent to Route 1 and near the Thomaston line. The city also owns an additional 4-plus acres where the public works garage is located.
“It is important to recognize that the city struggles to grow and stabilize its property base,” the community development director stated in his message.
The Monday evening meeting is the start of the discussion about ways to promote economic development, he stated.
Ocean State Job Lot continues with its plan to move by spring into the space where the Rockland Walmart was located on the northern end of Route 1 near the Rockport town line, according to Ocean State Director of Marketing David Sarlitto. The company plans to lease out a portion of the building and expects to employ 30 to 40 people.