Brand name hotel study under way in Rumford

RUMFORD — Work started Tuesday with a national hospitality consulting firm hired by selectmen to conduct a feasibility study to recruit a brand name hotel to town.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said he and Jim Rinaldo of the Rumford Economic Development Committee met with Thomas C. Blake of the northeast branch of Colliers International's PKF Consulting USA.

“It was a good first meeting,” Puiia said Tuesday afternoon.

He said they began the process by introducing Blake to the community, identifying potential sites and providing a history of Rumford.

They also spoke about losing The Madison Inn, which was converted to condominiums, and how Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry is creating a bigger draw to the area, and Black Mountain ski resort in Rumford.

Puiia said rooms are lacking for big events, short- or long-term rooms needed for patients of Rumford Hospital, and engineers, management and consulting officials brought in by the Rumford paper mill, NewPage Inc.

In addition, now that state voters last week OK'd the Oxford casino referendum, Puiia said he and Rinaldo also mentioned that as a potential magnet.

“We figured there could be people not wanting to stay right there (in Oxford), like it is at the ski area, where they might not want the night life and they're just there for the day activities, or they may be traveling through,” he said.

Jump-starting economic development in town has been one of the board's priorities this year.

Phil Blampied, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, told selectmen and Puiia at Thursday's board meeting that they should soon decide whether to pursue a second Community Development Block Grant grant to continue improvements to housing.

“We have two areas where we have a good shot at a grant this year,” Blampied said. “One is the housing grant. Very often the federal government is well disposed to giving a second grant to a community that has already won a grant.”

Last year, Blampied helped land a $200,000 CDBG for housing. He said significant work has been done to 20 different buildings thanks to the grant.

“The impact in Strathglass Park is quite noticeable if you go through there,” Blampied said.

To apply for the housing grant, voters need to approve it by December or January.

“The other grant that we have a good shot at is a planning grant,” Blampied said. It would require a $2,500 cash match.

He suggested getting a planning grant and having the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments in Auburn look at the Cumberland and Waldo street areas.

“They would give us a road map to what we might do to restore and develop that area,” Blampied said.

He also urged selectmen “to get serious” about applying for tax increment financing districts.

“We can greatly enhance our appeal to new businesses if we have a TIF district set up where they can come in and get the benefit of a tax incremental financial arrangement,” Blampied said.

“There are a variety of ways that you could use the money that would come out of a TIF arrangement. What most businesses want to see is what's called a 'credit enhancement agreement' and what that is, is you help them pay the loans they took out to do the project.”

Blampied also suggested making TIF districts of the Business Park, and the Lincoln Avenue, and Waldo and Cumberland streets block, and the strip going west beyond Marden's.

He also said he would like the board to start marketing the Business Park area.

Rinaldo then suggested that selectmen hire a part-time economic director.

“We haven't seen any real economic development since we lost our economic development director in the 1980s,” Rinaldo said. “Doing piecemeal economic development is tough.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Delusional

Just when you thought that this could not possibly get any weirder...here comes the relatives. 'Worldwide reputation'! Fatandhappy, you hit this one on the head. You just can't make up stuff like this.

 's picture

My boyfriend is from

My boyfriend is from Dumpford. We went there on vacation once. I would rather spend a month in a base camp without a shower than an hour in that hole. There are a lot of places would pay a lot of money for someone like this Candice and she is working for you for free. You people are nuttier than a Butterfinger and stupid besides. How can this girl be contacted to go where she will be appreciated?

 's picture

You really are dumb. My

You really are dumb. My boyfriend reads this rag every day to see if any of his hick relatives up in that hole have kicked off. Just because someone doesn't register doesn't mean they don't scan the paper. You are good for a daily chuckle for sure. We just aren't wasting our time chatting with you bozos. I registered an hour ago cause you fools got yourselves a gold mine up there that a lot of places would pay big bucks for, including a finders fee. That girl doing what she does is what a lot of places look for to do community organizing and bring in grants. Just cause you are too stupid to take advantage of her talent doesn't mean the rest of the country is. Come to think of it, that might be part of the reason that place is such a hole. Anyway, I travel all over putting out fires and I know people that would love to put somebody like that girl to work for them. So how would I get in touch with her?

Phil Blampied's picture

Candace's post

The post by D Wilson has pretty clearly come from Candace Casey who is the person who offered to write a grant for Strathglass Park.

Ms. Casey wanted to ask for $300,000 in order to undertake a study of the Park by high priced professionals. Not only was it unlikely that the request would succeed, but a study of the privately-owned buildings in the park would probably be ignored by the residents who never asked to be studied in the first place. When asked if she would be willing to work on a more realistic proposal, she angrily severed her connections with the Strathglass Park Preservation Society.

I had little to do with the Blue Ox and have urged from the beginning that it be handled differently, with more participation from residents rather than a flat-out purchase by the town government.

I didn't divert anything. The grant, as approved by the state, prominently aimed to help landlords meet the fire code requirements that were being enforced by the town. Landlords shared half the cost of all work done under the grant.
- Phil Blampied

What is wrong with people in the area?

The only question I have is why are people in this area so afraid of change? We are having a hard time with businesses closing or moving out of town. New businesses don't want to move in because the buildings on congress that are for rent need way to much work. Every time the town has a shot at getting a big business in the area, someone has to shoot it down. Pretty soon they won't have to, its going to become a ghost town. Time for a change!! Lets move forward!

 's picture

If the University College

If the University College moved to Rumford in nice new digs and attracted students from outside that would generate a need for hotel rooms as parents bring their kids to college then come to visit. It would also generate a need for some quality house for the students who would pay their rent.

Phil Blampied's picture

Three faces of Eve

I always identify myself correctly on internet posts. It's especially important to do so when attacking others by name. To do otherwise is bizarre and/or cowardly or both. Doesn't SJ have some responsibility not to enable certain kinds of problematical behavior? What's up, editor?

Phil Blampied

 's picture

Time to strap on the boots

Now that the budget is set, the board can start looking at achieving some important tasks to move our town forward.

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