The approved, 450-acre housing project near Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford is in the area marked by the circle. (Submitted photo)

George O’Keefe, left, Rumford economic development director, and John Bartash III, associate broker for Hebert Realty Group in Mexico, discuss the approved 300-unit housing project that’s for sale. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin)

RUMFORD — An approved 300-unit housing project in the shadow of Black Mountain of Maine ski area is on the market, according to a Realtor.

Scotty Brook at Black Mountain covers 450 acres off Isthmus Road.

John Bartash III, associate broker for the Hebert Realty Group in Mexico, said Lem Cissel, 80, of Cissel Enterprises LLC in Maryland is selling the subdivision for a little under $2 million. He said it has been on the market for a week.

“Our real estate office is already getting calls from people out of state who either had connections here or see a value here, looking to buy real estate or investment property.”


The project has been laid out, surveyed, planned and approved by the Rumford Planning Board and professionally engineered by Main-Land Development of Livermore Falls.

“This subdivision puts it in everybody’s face, that we have one of the finest skiing resorts in the state,” George O’Keefe, economic development director for Rumford, said. “We have more winter sports opportunities than practically any other community in Maine.”

Bartash said the subdivision would be huge for the future of the locally-owned ski area.

Scotty Brook was first introduced some 12 years ago. Cissel had gone through all the subdivision steps with the town and state, but ended the project when the housing market crashed.

“We were ready to start breaking ground,” Cissel said Wednesday. “Everything was passed and OK’d by everybody. I had paid for everything, including engineering, out of my own savings.”

He said a large construction loan had been approved, but then came the crash in the housing market and he received a letter from his bank canceling the loan.


“I was shocked at what was going on,” he said. “Then, three months later, the world found out what happened; the economy tanked, and that was it.”

O’Keefe said, “We have local professionals who need this housing. I’ve heard from people who think this is just going to go to people from out of state. I know that that’s not going to be the case because I know people who intend to buy into this.”

Bartash added buyers may include some people who used to live here who would like to come back.

Plans call for 145 units of multifamily homes, 23 clustered single-family homes on shared land, 20 single-family homes on quarter-acre parcels, and 109 single-family homes on parcels ranging up to four acres or more.

Names chosen for the streets in the development reflect the skiing history of Black Mountain such as Rumford’s four Olympians, Wendell “Chummy” Broomhall, Billy Chenard, Bob Pidacks and Jim Miller.

Bartash said the plan includes common spaces, walking trails, snowmobile access, skiing access and fishing. Municipal sewer lines would serve the project, while individual or shared wells would provide water.


Bartash said there would be two entrances to Scotty Brook, one from Isthmus Road and the other from Swain Hill. All the roads in the project would be built to town standards of 24-feet wide and be paved.

Economic Development Director O’Keefe credited town Code Enforcement Officer Richard Coulombe with rediscovering the plans for Scotty Brook, and “pointing out to me that we had a fully planned and approved subdivision.”

After looking at the subdivision plan further, O’Keefe contacted Cissel and pointed out improving market conditions.

“One of the things we discovered was that his understanding of the market condition was really based on his impression of how things were going on regionally in Maryland,” O’Keefe said. “We were able to convey to him that the market up here was in much better shape than where he was, and he didn’t know that.”

Coulombe said, “I’m hoping someone buys and moves forward with it. That would be so great for this area. We need it.”

Cissel said he believes Coulombe to be the most important person if this subdivision is going to happen.


“Richard has the key to the future of Rumford, whether he enforces the laws that are written or not.”

He said people, including the Board of Selectmen and town manager, have to back Coulombe “because he’s got to step out in rough territory, in a sense. Nobody’s going to like a code (enforcement) officer saying you’ve got to do this, that and the other. But he’s going to have to do that and stand tall. If he does, Rumford’s going to turn into something else.”

Cissel said, “I spent a lot of money up there, and I don’t regret one bit of it. People got excited and I had a lot of fun. I would love to see something big happen up there.”

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