Millinocket became know as the Magic City a little over a hundred years ago. A paper mill was built in the middle of the woods and from that mill, the town of Millinocket grew; it was like magic.
Millinocket became a community rich in its quality of life,
We had good neighbors who took care of one other. Churches, organizations and, for the children, it was magic growing up in a small town; we were free to roam, to explore the woods around town, the wonder of winter; life was good and we were lucky growing up in Millinocket.
The mountain and lakes were also magical. Sitting on a porch at a camp on Millinocket Lake, and watching the sun set over Mount Katahdin, listening to the call of the loons, a beautiful September day fishing on the lake, these were all magical.
We had it all, and we will lose all of it by becoming a gateway community.
Now we have an organization called MAGIC, the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council. There is no Magic in this organization; it was formed to help a few get rich and to turn our community into a gateway to a national park.
One of the founders of MAGIC was the president of Bowater, the company which sold land to The Nature Conservancy;. he is now on their board of directors.
How many jobs were lost in the woodland department by this sale of the woods? By selling the land, jobs were also lost at the Rice Farm where trees were planted to replant after the cutting was done.
Jobs were lost through the bankruptcy of Great Northern, but the President of the mill was himself able to get out before the bankruptcy; and he helped start MAGIC.
Another job that was lost due to the bankruptcy was the job of economical development for Millinocket; this person worked in the municipal building sharing an office. The cost to the town was small, but that job was cut and nothing has been created to replace it.
MAGIC was started to fill that void but instead of jobs, they promoted tourism; and tourism is all we will get at a large financial cost to the taxpayers of Millinocket.
Millinocket needs a tax base to fill the void of the mill. We need good-paying jobs to keep our people here. Tourism has a place in all of this, but it will not help our community grow, and it will not help us to keep our quality of life, the Magic of growing up in Millinocket will be gone forever.
Hammond Ridge is not in Millinocket. It is at Millinocket Lake, and development there will not add to the tax base for this town, but the organization of MAGIC supports this effort, and as does our governor.
There will be some jobs, but for the owners of the camps on the lake, their quality of life will change forever, and the question that should be asked is how many of the area people will be able to keep their camps if, due to the building on Hammond Ridge, the evaluation of their camps rise to a very high price, so that they are taxed out of the camps and homes?
Will Millinocket Lake become another area where the local people can work, but not live here?
I will be voting no on giving MAGIC, the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council, another thirty thousand dollars. I would rather spend the thirty thousand for an economic development director who will work to bring in business that will help keep our people here.
By the townpeople supporting MAGIC and its organization, we have lost time and spent too much money for jobs that never came.
It is past time that we spent our money wisely, and it is past time that the people of Millinocket learned to follow the money and they will see that a small group of people will benefit but our town will be a very big loser.
There is no Magic in Millinocket anymore. It has been lost through greed, and the people have suffered and will continue to suffer as they continue to lose their quality of life in a small community called Millinocket.