July 19, 2019
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Trump signs Poliquin bill that frees Old Town to develop land near airport

Christopher Bouchard | Aroostook Republican
Christopher Bouchard | Aroostook Republican
President Donald Trump on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, signed a bill sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, seen above in this file photo, that allows the city of Old Town to develop land near its airport for economic development projects.

President Donald Trump on Monday signed a bill sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin that allows the city of Old Town to develop land near its airport for economic development projects.

Poliquin, who represents Maine’s 2nd District, has been working with Old Town officials to make the change since at least 2017, when he introduced the bill. The new law overturns a 1980s-era deed restriction on the property that says the land can only be used for airport purposes. It will allow the town to make the land available for the development of new businesses.

Old Town Mayor David Mahan has said the city has businesses “ready to locate” on the land, and according to a news release from Poliquin, the city spent more than $1 million on infrastructure improvements on and around the land before it learned about the deed restrictions.

Technically, the bill directs the Department of Agriculture to release the U.S. government’s interest and rights over the land, which it has held since the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage congratulated Poliquin and thanked Trump on Tuesday in a tweet that referred to the deed restriction as “obsolete.” LePage said Poliquin’s bill will “spur economic growth and bring new jobs to the city of Old Town.”

Old Town officials were not available when contacted for a comment late Tuesday afternoon.

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Correction: An earlier version of this report included the wrong day of the bill signing. Trump signed the bill into law on Monday. The signing was announced on Tuesday.


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