Town of Wilton

WILTON —  Voters on Tuesday at a special town meeting unanimously approved taking a loan for up to $300,000 for abatement and partial demolition of the Forster Mill site.

About a dozen residents were in attendance.

The loan from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Community Development’s Brownfields program is interest-free for up to 10 years, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

The town has $150,000 left from a $200,000 grant and voters have appropriated $100,000 from undesignated funds for a building demolition fund.

No grant funding is currently available, she said. With the loan, she estimates the town will have about $550,000 for more abatement of asbestos and to start demolition.

The estimated cost for demolition of the property is up to a million dollars, she said.

A public meeting to unveil a community relations plan and outline the proposed work will take place at the board’s meeting on July 18. 

Some residents were concerned about the need to increase taxes. The $50,000 appropriated from undesignated funds over the past couple years will now likely be sought to pay the loan.

Irish said she cannot tell at this point if increasing taxes will be necessary.

Regardless, the site poses a “big liability for the town to not take down,” board Chairman Tiffany Maiuri said.  

The board also approved the town’s applications for Community Development Block Grants for Carrier Welding and Fabrication LLC and Lovett & Hall Woodworks LLC, doing business as Maine Made Furniture. CDBG grants are federal funds funneled through the state and town.

A $50,000 CDBG grant through the Workforce Development Program for Maine Made Furniture will crosstrain 10 full-time woodworkers for each aspect needed to produce custom pieces of furniture which are ordered online. A few more workers may be hired.

The town applies for and administers the funds to the business at the former Bass building on Weld Road.

Carrier Welding and Fabrication on Depot Street is seeking a $240,000 CDBG grant through the Economic Development Program.

Nathan Carrier has secured a $275,000 match in loans to make improvements to his building and purchase new equipment.

The company needs to develop eight full-time jobs within 12 to 18 months as a grant condition. When the jobs are filled, it ends any obligation the town has for the grant, said Darryl Sterling, economic development consultant for the town.

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