Caribou steps in to secure dilapidated former Birds Eye site

Shown is what used to be the corner of the main building of the Birds Eye vegetable processing plant on the corner of Route 1 and Fort Street in Caribou.
Natalie De La Garza | Aroostook Republican & News
Shown is what used to be the corner of the main building of the Birds Eye vegetable processing plant on the corner of Route 1 and Fort Street in Caribou.
Posted July 24, 2014, at 2:35 p.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Concerned about safety issues, the City Council has agreed to contract fencing work to secure part of the dilapidated former Birds Eye industrial complex on Fort Street.

The councilors gave the owner a seven-day deadline on June 23 to secure the site, which was not met. The city will hire someone to put up a fence, and property owner Steven Nasiff of Massachusetts-based Nasiff International will be billed for the work, according to city officials.

Specifics of the city-lead fencing project were not immediately available, but Assistant City Manager and Code Enforcement Officer Tony Mazzucco explained the city was in the process of contracting for fence construction mostly along the northern part of the property, though other fencing could be needed.

Nasiff could not be reached by phone on Monday, but Mazzucco said City Manager Austin Bleess has been in contact with Nasiff multiple times through phone and email since the June 23 meeting.

“The mayor felt it was very important for the city council to hold an emergency meeting, because the city has dealt with this for long enough and they’re not going to let it go any longer than it has, at this point,” Mazzucco said.

During the June meeting, the Council voted to declare the property “dangerous” and considered asking Nasiff to demolish some of the worst structures on the site.

Mazzucco told councilors in a written memorandum at the time, “It is my professional opinion that (these buildings) are structurally unsafe, unstable, unsanitary, are unsuitable for use or occupancy, constitute a hazard to health and safety because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, and abandonment … and that the buildings should be disposed of being demolished and removed in accordance with applicable state and local laws.”

Nasiff argued, however, he already had done a lot to clean up the site and said he intended to do more.

“I’m going to finish cleaning it, and I apologize for the unsightliness, but we’ll look at getting that taken care of, and I’ll give you a plan because I have no reason not to,” he told the councilors. “I’m on this ASAP.”

Though Nasiff did not meet the seven-day deadline for securing the site, he is still within the 30-day timeline councilors gave him to create a cleanup plan for the property.

Nasiff is slated to present the Caribou City Council with his plan for the removal and remediation of all the hazards at the site at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting Monday, July 28.

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