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Alyce Maragus

Council Meeting of 1/10/08 - Part II
By Alyce Maragus
Jan 14, 2008 - 9:14:31 PM

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Yes! The town has purchased the J.J. Newberry's building for $40,000.00.

I'm sure there are some who will not agree with the council's decision to purchase this building, but what were the alternatives?

The building has sat for many years and has been allowed to deteriorate. Then the Katahdin Cultural Center thought they could find enough financial support to make it a viable enterprise. Didn't happen.

Chairman Paul reminded us of the internal work that was done, such as the wiring, pipes, tiling and fixtures being removed. And although that might indeed help defray the renovation costs, if this represents progress, I fail to see it.

Instead I'm told there remains a hole in the back wall supposedly to accomodate a rear entrance which never materialized. I also understand the roof leaks like a sieve and there are two holes on the ground floor level leading to the basement that already had leakage problems. Not to mention the debris that fell from the facade or the broken showroom windows.

Of course it would be wonderful if a developer were to appear out of the woodwork but that doesn't seem to be a reality. So - perhaps it would be better to demolish the building but keep the land area available for a possible future economic development project should one occur.

Still trying to beat a dead horse, Polstein would have the town offer it to the next highest bidder. If that were a viable plan why then did the council even bid on it to begin with?

Since Polstein didn't agree to the town owning the building even at the first meeting, one has to examine his ulterior motives and he almost always has one. For those not aware, the next highest bidder just happened to be Bob Benjamin. You know, the guy who has been buying up quite a few properties and any available land here in Millinocket. This through North Woods Realty, owned by Dan Cochran, Bruce McLean's stepfather? Now although this may embrace American entrepreneurship, Benjamin has not been Millinocket friendly.

Why do I say that? Well according to Councilor Mingo, Benjamin has made cosmetic improvements to his properties, but aside from that, most still remain vacant and of little use to furthering any economic development in our town unless it suits his purpose.

Having now gained control of a prime location in our downtown area, shouldn't the council/town try its very best to make this property work FOR us rather than relinquish ownership to those who have their own private and personal agenda?


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