LEWISTON — The City Council voted unanimously to transfer ownership of several former mill sites to local developer George Schott during a meeting Tuesday evening, with the understanding that he will prepare the site for future use.

The plan devised by Schott and the city will give about 3 acres, including the former Libbey Mill at 6 Mill St. and a neighboring parking lot, to Schott’s Great Falls Property LLC. In order to make the downtown, waterfront land more viable for future use, Schott will make significant improvements, leveling it to a uniform elevation above the river and removing debris left from the former manufacturing operations.

The plan came together in just a few months once serious discussion had begun, said Lincoln Jeffers, assistant to Lewiston’s city administrator. The vote to approve it took a mere few moments, as the councilors kept their comments brief and moved forward with the proceedings.

“This is one of those times when the public and private sectors work together and everyone wins,” Ward 1 Councilor John Butler said in a brief statement before the vote. “I look forward to it.”

Due to the land’s location along the river and the high-traffic area along Main Street, it “is one of the most desirable sites in the city,” Jeffers wrote in a memo distributed to councilors before the meeting. “However, it will be an expensive site to redevelop. This proposal will result in a much improved site ready for development at minimal cost to the city.”

“I was pleased that the council supported the agreement,” Jeffers, who had helped negotiate the deal between the city and the developer, said after the vote. Schott “has been great to work with and he has a good track record of when he says he’ll do something, he does it,” Jeffers said.

Once the improvements have been made to the land, it would be prime for a “signature” property, Jeffers said. Both the city and the developers have agreed that it should be turned into something of high value to the city, Jeffers said. “We don’t want a fast-food restaurant there. We don’t want a drugstore or something like that,” he said.

Rather, the land would be better used by a hotel, medical facility or office space, Jeffers said.

According to the joint development agreement between the city and Schott, the developer will receive the deeds to the land at no cost. He will be responsible for paying property taxes and will incur the costs of redevelopment. Once the land is ready and becomes functioning commercial property, however, the revenue will go to him.

The Lewiston City Council also voted unanimously to go ahead with implementing a single-stream recycling service during Tuesday’s meeting.

Single stream recycling — in which residents will be able to put all recyclable materials in a single container without sorting them — will be less expensive than the current system, and will increase recycling, Councilor John Butler said.

While a specific recycling company was not chosen by the council during the meeting Tuesday, the new plan is estimated to save the city about $30,000 per year, Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said.

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