Black Bear announces Cianbro and Sargent to build Oxford casino

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OXFORD — Two Maine contracting companies have been selected to build the state’s first full-fledged casino, according to the Black Bear Realty, the owner of the casino project.

Cianbro Corp0. of Pittsfield and Sargent Corp. of Stillwater have been named as the primary companies. Sargent will be the site contractor and Cianbro will manage construction, according to a release issued by Black Bear early Monday morning.

“These exceptional Maine companies have a proven history of providing quality jobs as well as outstanding performance records in their respective fields,” a release issued by Peter Martin, Black Bear’s government relations adviser. 

Martin said he expected a ground-breaking ceremony some time in the near future for the 58,000-square-foot, first phase of the casino.

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Martin said the casino hopes to be open by early 2012.

“Cianbro is proud and pleased to have been selected for this important project in Oxford County, where unemployment rates have hovered around 10 percent during these tough economic times,” Cianbro Chairman and CEO Pete Vigue, said in a prepared statement. “Not only will our construction activities bring immediate jobs and spending to this region, but hundreds of permanent positions will be created here once the facility is operational.”

“In times of minimal commercial investment in rural Maine, we’re proud to be a part of a project that will bring not only good, temporary construction jobs, but also good permanent jobs as well, Sargent’s president,  Herb R. Sargent, said in a prepared statement.

Bob Bahre of Alton, N.H., one of the owners and investors in the Black Bear project, also commented on the announcement.

”From the start, for both my son Gary and me, this has been all about jobs for Maine people,” Bahre said. “We wanted to do something to give back to an area that has been so good to us.  I know the high standards and quality of these companies and I’m confident they’ll do a good job putting more Maine people to work in the process.” 

Maine voters approved the $165 million casino and resort in November. Spokesman Peter Martin says site preparation is under way, and a ground breaking is set for June in Oxford.

The first phase is a casino, restaurant and lounge, to be followed by a 200-room hotel. The final phase calls for meeting space for conventions.

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