Work on Rumford Best Western hotel to begin Sept. 17

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RUMFORD — Work will begin Sept. 17 at the site of a four-story Best Western Plus Hotel at 50 Prospect Ave., selectmen were told Thursday night.

Tony Carter speaks to Rumford selectmen Thursday night about plans to begin clearing the site for a multimillion Best Western Plus Hotel on Prospect Street. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

Tony Carter, president of Pennacook Falls Investments, said an excavator will begin cleaning up the former Puiia Hardware property in preparation for the multimillion project that has been stalled by permitting and financial issues since 2016.

Financing “is potentially in place,” Carter said. “We have a hospitality group in place. We are making progress. We really are.”

Carter is leading a team of 24 investors to build the 60-room hotel, which in 2016 was estimated to cost between $5 million and $6 million.

Rumford approved a $125,000 Urban Development Action Grant two years ago to kick start the project.

Carter said Thursday night investors will need an extension on the 90-day extension it received to pay back the loan.

The board voted 3-0-1 to grant an extension, but will discuss how long it will be at its meeting Sept. 20. Chris Brennick, Peter Chase and Mark Belanger voted for it. John Pepin abstained. Jim Windover was absent.

In other matters, Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs updated selectmen on issues surrounding the $5.4 million project to replace sewer, water and stormwater lines on  the downtown business island. She said an extra utility crew has been brought in to speed up the work, and a temporary water hookup has been installed on Congress Street.

Paving on Congress Street will begin toward the end of this month.

“I appreciate the business owners’ and residents’ patience as the downtown project continues,” Briggs said. “We all recognize the inconvenience and anxiety it has caused. We will soon be planning a celebration event for its completion.”

At the start of the meeting, a moment of silence was held for Rumford reserve police Officer Scott Landis, who was killed Aug. 25 in a plane crash in Massachusetts while spreading his father’s ashes.

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