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Joyce Endee

Much of mill complex could be demolished

Town briefs public on meeting with owners, seeks input

May 11, 2011
NORTHUMBERLAND The board of selectmen held a meeting on Monday evening, May 2, to brief the public on the results of their April 26 meeting with representatives of Groveton Acquisitions LLC, the owners of the former Wausau mill properties in town.

Although light on specifics, Groveton Acquisitions officials Jerome Epstein and Ken Miller have indicated to the board that they are leaning toward demolition of all of the mill complex with the exception of a 40,000-square-foot warehouse and a rail spur. The building would essentially be sold for its scrap metal value and any environmental hazards would be removed and the grounds reclaimed.

Groveton Acquisitions recently acquired the mortgage rights, formerly owned by Caterpillar Financial, to the former Groveton Paperboard portion of the property and are seeking a way to settle with the town on the back taxes owed on the property. One option being discussed would have the town take ownership of one or more parcels of the mill property in exchange for the approximately $137,000 back tax bill. The four parcels under consideration are the former Groveton Paperboard office at the corner of Main and Mechanic streets, the carwash lot on Mechanic Street, the parking lot on the north side of Mechanic Street, and the parking lot off Main Street adjacent to the railroad tracks.

The general consensus of the dozen residents in attendance and the selectboard members was to offer to take all four properties in exchange for clearing the tax bill. Groveton Acquisitions had indicated to the board that they would like to move quickly to resolve the situation. The board, which has made no formal decision, said they are unlikely to do so prior to next week's board meeting, and would prefer to wait until the building committee has had a chance to weigh in at their May 12 meeting. The board could also ask that Groveton Acquisitions simply pay the back taxes, and not entertain the offer to acquire any of the properties.

Groveton Acquisitions, which has had the former mill complex on the market for over two years without any serious offers, feels a cleaned up site would have a much better chance of being sold. Despite various rumors, no tangible offers have yet been made.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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