west paris – The former Penley Mill site has been selected to receive federal Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields assessment funding.

A site assessment has been completed on Penley Mill, and a public hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, July 9, at the Town Office. More assessment work will follow.

West Paris is one of many communities in the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments region that have vacant or underutilized commercial and industrial buildings and sites. Efforts to encourage redevelopment are often hindered by perceptions that hazardous substances are or have been present, which leads to conclusions of contamination and costly cleanup.

In 1994, the EPA created the Brownfields program to help communities address this issue. AVCOG applied for and received a Brownfields assessment grant in late 2005. The grant included funding for site assessment work for a maximum of five sites throughout the region.

A steering committee was formed with six volunteers from throughout the region. The committee developed scoring criteria for site selection and chose five properties from the top 15 highest ranked sites. The five sites selected for the Brownfields program are the Cornshop in Norway, Cummings Landing/Woodyard in Norway, Hale Mill in Mexico, Penley Mill in West Paris, and Joneco in Kingfield. All of the owners have agreed and signed up to participate in the program.

The Cornshop in Norway, Penley Mill in West Paris and Joneco in Kingfield were selected by the committee for further work.

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