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Our Katahdin Awarded $5.3 Million Grant to invest in critical infrastructure at former mill site

Our Katahdin Awarded $5.3 Million grant to invest in critical infrastructure at former mill site
Project will transform former paper mill into an industrial park for next generation
forest products

Photo Credit:Northern Flights Photography

Millinocket, ME – Our Katahdin, a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been awarded a $5.3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build critical infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer, power and broadband on the 1,400-acre former Great Northern Paper mill site in Millinocket. The investment will leverage the site’s competitive advantages, which include access to wood fiber via the Golden Road, reliable hydroelectric power from Brookfield Renewable, rail access via CMQ Railway, wastewater discharge and clean, cold water.

Our Katahdin purchased the former paper mill site in January of 2017. “Our number one goal is to bring back jobs to the area. We knew that a major investment in the core infrastructure was needed to attract companies and further investment. We are grateful to our dedicated staff and voluntary consultants who have developed a site plan that utilizes the legacy assets and allows for development of the greenfield site”, stated Our Katahdin President, Sean DeWitt.

Our Katahdin intends to develop the site into a multi-tenant industrial park hosting both traditional and innovative forest products businesses such as cross-laminated timber manufacturing, biorefining and nanocellulose production. The site has also been of interest to potential tenants in the aquaculture, food production and data center industries.

The award is contingent on Our Katahdin resolving an inherited $1.4 million IRS lien on the site. Our Katahdin has been mired in the lien negotiation process with the IRS for over 18 months without success. “We need to find resolution to the IRS lien now, so we can move the site, this EDA grant and the Katahdin region forward” said Steve Sanders, Director of Mill Site Redevelopment.

Support from the congressional delegation has been crucial in securing this EDA grant for the Katahdin region. The timing of this award could not be better with this week’s announcement of a transformed and expanded forest economy by the FOR/Maine (Forest Opportunity Roadmap) coalition. This is a plan to grow Maine’s forest sector by 40% by 2025, thereby challenging the sector to expand and compete in the new global era. Our Katahdin views this EDA grant as a first step in ensuring the Katahdin region maximizes its contribution to this bold and necessary ambition.

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