Orrington promises new business, recreation options with park
ORRINGTON, Maine (WABI) - The town of Orrington is moving ahead with a business project long in development.
“The town has always dreamed about developing this, " Orrington Town Manager Chris Backman said. “It took a lot of effort, a lot of consistent persistence from a lot of people in town. They just never gave up on it.”
Orrington’s Eagle Point Business Park has been 35 years in the making.
Now, the 160-acre project is open for bids for more than 30 businesses.
The park is adjacent to the former Holtrachem plant - which one study found dumped more than 12 metric tons of mercury into the Penobscot River for more than 30 years.
Officials say no remediation was required at this site - and the DEP released this property for industrial zoning.
“We were held up for a long time,15 years, while the mercury contamination next to the property we own was mitigated,” James Stoneman, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee said. “Nothing could be done. And now, we’re here to go - and we’re going.”
Business will be booming, but the town is sticking to its roots - more than 60 acres of the park will be preserved for public use, including hiking trails along the river.
“You want that rural picture,” Orrington Selectman Allen Elkin said.
“It’s a parcel of land that you wouldn’t expect to have an industrial park,” Backman said. “It’s wooded, it’s hilly, we’ll add some more hiking trails and make it a destination.
Whether you’re doing business at the park, or maybe coming out here for a sandwich, take a walk, go see the river. That’s my vision. And so, I’d take 35 mom and pop businesses out here.”
“If I were looking to set up a small business, it would be an ideal spot,” Elkin said. “You’ll have everything you need.”
Officials are also hoping for an economic boost.
“It’s going to broaden and stabilize our tax base,” Stoneman said. “The first year’s lease - not on this property but the other industrial park we just opened up last year - is going to pay for the cost of the whole thing, of purchasing it. One year!”
With a potential groundbreaking as early as June, it’s the payoff for decades of perseverance.
“All the good things about Maine are right here,” Backman said.
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