This week, the Buzz is building, thrifting and waiting.

First up: Let’s catch air.

One of two LifeFlight helicopters lands in the Jay Shopping Plaza last September after a massive explosion at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay. The LifeFlight crew is getting new quarters to relax between calls at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file photo

LifeFlight of Maine is getting new crew quarters at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport.

Director Rick Lanman said the agency first approached the airport for extra space in 2016.

“We have been wrestling with this project since,” he said. “Their consistent request asked for rooms for the crew to relax and then extra space for in-service training and so on. The hangar is a maintenance facility for their aircraft, but isn’t set up for crew comfort.”

After bids to expand the hangar came in too high, the airport opted for a separate building large enough for three small, private rooms for crew members on duty to relax separately until they’re called on, along with a day room, Lanman said.

“LifeFlight has made this request at all their based aircraft locations,” he added.

The airport received a building permit for the $90,000, 28-by 24-foot crew facility project last month.

It’ll be paid for through rent, according to Lanman, and should be finished by Aug. 1.

New projects approved, waiting for what’s next

The Auburn Planning Board unanimously approved NexAmp Solar’s proposed 5-megawatt, 17,874-panel solar array on 82 acres at 1115 Riverside Drive on Tuesday night, according to City Planner II Megan Norwood.

Now it’s a wait to see if the Maine Public Utilities Commission gives the $16 million project the go-ahead later this summer.

The board also approved changes to the Mystique Way Cannabis Park, allowing owners to divide it into salable building units with some conditions.

Norwood said those include no more than one retail location can be on the site without future Planning Board approval, an addressing plan needs to be approved before building permits are issued and the site plan needs to be updated with loading zone locations approved by staff.

Now, to see who else builds there and how quickly.

New to Center Street

Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice opened a new thrift shop in Auburn last week on 245 Center St., Suite 2.

Spokeswoman Kristin Melville said customers will find high-quality clothing, dishes, collectibles and small furniture.

The shop had been planned for March, but Androscoggin waited instead until it could safely open to the public, she said.

It’s organized by volunteers who have put in hundreds of hours to get the shop up and running. Store hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Friday 1 to 4 p.m.

Donations are accepted during business hours and proceeds benefit hospice care.

Almost close to home

Verso Corp., which sold the Androscoggin Mill in Jay and one other mill in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, in January, this week announced it was closing paper mills in Duluth, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin due to an “accelerated decline” in orders as a result of the pandemic.

The closures this summer leave 1,000 people out of work, according to a news release. Verso is weighing whether to reopen the mills if demand picks back up, put them on the market or permanently shutter them.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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