BUCKSPORT, Maine — Town officials have approved a demolition permit for the removal of buildings at the former Verso Paper mill and are waiting on signed copies of agreements with the property owner before they issue the required document.
Jeffrey Hammond, code enforcement officer for the town of Bucksport, said Monday that he approved the permit last week on Nov. 18, two days after the Town Council had approved two financial agreements with Bucksport Mill LLC that guarantee completion of the work.
One agreement guarantees a $3.9 million performance bond, directly accessible to the town, in the event that the American Iron and Metal subsidiary does not complete the demolition project, according to Hammond. The other gives the company seven years to find new uses for concrete foundations at the property and, if it cannot secure new uses for them by then, guarantees up to an additional $600,000 to have the foundations removed.
AIM has not indicated what it will do with the site once the mill is demolished but has suggested that it likely will try to redevelop the property, as it is doing with another former Verso mill in Sartell, Minnesota.
Hammond said he had spoken with Jeff McGlin, vice president for AIM Development, about the town demolition permit being approved.
“He said it would be a couple of days before [the signed agreements] would be submitted” to the town, Hammond said. “I hope to get them soon.”
McGlin did not return a voicemail message left for him Monday afternoon.
Hammond said the company has open rail cars in position on the tracks at the mill property, waiting to haul off debris. He said the mill buildings will be taken down piece by piece, with the demolition taking up to 16 months to complete.
Hammond said the town’s demo permit limits work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and does not allow demolition work to be done on weekends. He said both the town and Maine Department of Environmental Protection have rules in place that will limit the amount of noise and dust that can be generated by the demolition work.
On Sept. 2, the state agency issued a separate permit for the demolition project that, among other things, requires the company to control erosion and to filter stormwater runoff, to limit noise levels resulting from the permitted work and to use a rock crusher on site within restrictions set by the department’s Bureau of Air Quality.
According to the DEP permit, the demolition project is expected to cost $4,450,000 and to generate approximately 14,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris, all of which will be disposed of at either the Crossroads Landfill in Norridgewock or the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.
AIM Development acquired the former paper mill from Verso earlier this year, after Verso decided to shut the facility down and to lay off more than 500 mill employees at the end of 2014. Approximately 1,000 people had worked at the mill in 2000, when it was owned and operated by Champion International. A series of industrial owners had made paper at the site since 1930.