September 23, 2018
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Bankruptcy court agrees to let town buy former Lincoln mill site

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

The town is poised to buy 76.6 acres of the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill site to turn into a commercial development.

On Thursday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Cary approved the town’s purchase of the land plus a dam on-site for $171,785 from the Lincoln Paper estate, according to documents filed at the Portland courthouse. The mill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed in 2015.

Town officials have declared the revitalization of the site a priority. Once home to the Lincoln Lakes region’s largest single business, the 76 acres sit beside downtown and West Broadway near Mattanawcook Lake, the town’s largest body of water.

Lincoln has formed a limited liability company, Park Avenue Redevelopment LLC, to manage the land. It will hire an economic development director and form a committee to oversee all town development, Lincoln Town Council Chairman George Edwards said.

The LPT purchase “is great news,” Edwards said Thursday.

“It means that now we will hopefully have an industrial park in Lincoln and we will have space for anyone who wants to bring industrial or manufacturing jobs to the area,” he added.

At least one developer, possibly a cross-laminated timber manufacturer, visited the site last year, Edwards said. Two CLT producers announced commitments last month to begin producing the substitute for steel and concrete in Maine in the next two years.

Located at the end of Katahdin Avenue off Route 2, Lincoln Paper closed after a boiler explosion in November 2013 ended its ability to make pulp and paper. The mill employed 128 workers at the time.

Site cleanup is also a priority. The 76 acres is a small and relatively clean portion of the site. The rest is so loaded with toxins that the town agreed to pursue a Superfund designation to help pay the $20 million cleanup cost.

The mill had been almost listed as a Superfund site in the early 2000s, but then-Gov. John Baldacci rejected the designation because at the time, Lincoln Paper’s founders were about to restart the mill.

The net purchase prices include $66,785 for the land, $75,000 for the dam and a $30,000 abatement payment, according to court documents.

The town and estate look to close the purchase-and-sale agreement in two weeks.

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