A Call for Change
My wife and I moved here about a year ago. Neither one of us is from Maine nor do we have any relatives living within 1000 miles of Maine. We were looking for a good place to raise our kids. We live comfortably, and could anywhere in the world. We are not dependent on the local economy, although we spend the majority of our out of state funds here. I have lived in 30 different States, and have lived in Cities, Towns, Indian reservations and areas were your nearest neighbor was 5 miles away. I have held a large array of positions to include (Electrician, Water and Waste water operator, Town Manager, Refrigeration Service Manager, Slot Machine Technician and business owner)
Since I have been here I have attempted to get on the Planning Board only to find that either I am not qualified or someone else was chosen before the deadline. I never received any correspondence from them; I believe that out of professional courtesy I should have been notified of their decision. My wife and I have looked into starting a new business here, only to change our minds. We just canít justify the risks here. Its sad to think that every business vehicle I come up with gets too much damage to make it worth my while. Now that things with GNP failed I guess I will stay retired. Katahdin Paper sets the growth of this community and it doesnít ! look good.
I can tell you that the people here are no different than others that I met before. Our local government should not have ties with major taxpayers it makes it hard to make the best decision regarding all the peopleís interests. I have to say housing is affordable here and I like the weather. The people I have met are the same as the people I have met elsewhere. Some have proven to be overly friendly and unfortunately several have proven to be the type you donít want to meet or to do business with.
I see a lot of separation among the people here that not only includes race, but also includes a personís income. I heard people complain about a family using ICM food pantry because they didnít work at the mill. This person complaining was visiting a neighbor trying to give away some of the food he had gotten from ICM. Which it appeared that he had received 2 to 3 times the food that the neighbors down the street got, with the same number of kids and adults. The other family had lost their income in January due to lack of work, which resulted from the GNP failure!
I believe it is time for a change if we donít want to turn into a shell of a city living in its past. I can live with it, but would rather not, and would like to see this town grow. ďLocation Location Location ď We donít Have THAT, so what can we do to change THAT? Destination; we need this area to become a Destination. This will take a lot of effort on the behalf of the people, not the MILL. This calls for a new local government with its sight on the future and not the past. The Paper industry is failing and may never fully rebound. In all, itís up to the people who live here.
I have been around other plant closings that never opened back up. Some cities rebounded and others just faded away. I hope we can ban together as a community in whole and develop a plan that we all can benefit from not just our mill workers. Thank You for your time.
Richard Farr, Resident