LEWISTON – A federal environmental cleanup grant targeting the old Camden Yarn Mill, near Simard-Payne Park, will let the Museum L-A move forward with renovation plans.

The museum will get a $200,000 brownfields cleanup grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to Executive Director Rachel Desgrosseilliers. That money will pay to remove lead from the building, asbestos from the basement furnace and clean up some oil-contaminated dirt on the property.

“Mostly, it’s minor stuff,” Desgrosseilliers said. “That money, the $200,000 will be enough to complete the site remediation and move forward.”

The Camden Yarn Mill is located beside the Androscoggin River and adjacent to Simard/Payne Memorial Park. Parts of the mill are still used for storage, while others have been dormant for decades.

Phase 1 would allow 20,000 square feet to open. A second phase would use all 50,000 square feet in the building, once Lewiston’s first cotton mill.

Desgrosseilliers said the museum plans to close on a $300,000 purchase of the mill this June and begin preparations to let it relocate. The museum plans to begin looking for architects and engineers this summer to do pre-design and structural engineering work. Fundraising to pay for the first phase of renovations, costing about $5 million, should begin sometime later this year, in the late fall or winter, she said.

The museum is looking to relocate to the mill sometime in 2012, she said.

The museum recently relocated within the Bates Mill Enterprise Complex, taking over space vacated by DaVinci’s Restaurant.


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