AUBURN — Engineering work is being done along the Snake Trail connecting Edward Little High School to the Elm Street-Minot Avenue in preparation for Chinese investors’ planned renovation of The Barn, according to officials.
Auburn Economic Development Director Roland Miller said crews were drilling along the trail Thursday, testing the soil for granite ledge.
“The first thing we need to know is the density and quality of the rock there,” Miller said. “They are taking core samples there to see what we’ve got so we know what type of activity will be necessary to remove some of that rock. It’s just normal background exploration so we know the scope of our program and how we are going to approach it.”
Plans call for extending S. Goff Street past the former Lunn and Sweet Shoe factory building, up a single-track dirt trail to the lowest turn on the asphalt-paved Snake Trail.
The new road would turn downhill there, connecting to Minot Avenue, creating a four-way intersection with Elm Street.
It would be part of the city’s work for the Chinese investment group hoping to turn the former shoe factory at 67 Minot Ave. into a four-star medical tourism destination for wealthy Chinese.
Investors from the Guo Tou Sheng Tong Investment Co. LTD and Beijing HongYu Investments and Developments Co. LTD created a Maine corporation, Miracle Enterprises LLC, in June. That Maine corporation purchased the 81 Minot Ave. Lunn and Sweet building on July 30, along with the neighboring 67 Minot Ave. lot.
The group announced its plans for a medical tourism destination Aug. 4, along with agreements with Central Maine Medical Center and a clearinghouse that connects Chinese patients with doctors.
Group representatives said they hoped to be in Auburn in October, using the former 1 Minot Ave. Auburn Police Station as an office.
Miller said the S. Goff Street expansion has not been reviewed publicly by city councilors yet, but they have been informed about the project’s scope and what the city needs to do.
High school students have used the Snake Trail through the Edward Little-Franklin Woods to reach the school for years, and they turned it into a community garden in 1992. The walking trail was paved with asphalt in 1993.
The community garden at the foot of the trail is maintained by volunteers from the Optimists Club.