New infrastructure project will transform former paper mill into an industrial park to support Maine’s forest industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) applauded an announcement that Millinocket-based nonprofit Our Katahdin has been awarded $5.3 million from the Economic Development Administration. The funding will help Our Katahdin build critical infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer, power and broadband on the 1,400-acre former Great Northern Paper mill site in Millinocket. In June, Senators Collins and King wrote in support of Our Katahdin’s grant application, citing the impact that the significant job losses resulting from the Millinocket paper mill’s closure would have on Maine’s rural economy.
“This funding for an array of significant infrastructure improvements will help Millinocket attract new, innovative companies that will create much-needed jobs in the region,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “We welcome this important investment, which will strengthen the community of Millinocket and lay the foundation for future economic growth.”
In 2016, Senators Collins and King called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT), that would work across federal agencies and industry sectors to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. The creation of the EDAT and its subsequent report and recommendations led to the EDA providing funding for Our Katahdin’s work to redevelop the former mill site.
Our Katahdin, a volunteer based 501(c)3 non-profit that works to promote community and economic development in the Katahdin region. Our Katahdin purchased the former paper mill site in early 2017, and intends to develop the site into a multi-tenant industrial park hosting both traditional and innovative forest products businesses such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing, biorefining and nanocellulose production. The site has also been of interest to potential tenants in the aquaculture, food production and data center industries.