February 15, 2012DRED-MEETING-GROVETON-MILL
DRED's Groveton mill meeting draws potential investors
By Edith Tucker
CONCORD — Some potential investors attended a meeting on Friday, Feb. 10, that was held under the auspices of Commissioner George Bald of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) in the agency's Pembroke Road offices. DRED's North Country representative Beno Lamontagne of Colebrook was also on hand.
"It was a good first step in a lengthy process of inquiry and collaboration," Pat Garvin of the North Country Council said in a Monday morning interview. Both Garvin and NCC co-director Jeff Hayes were on hand.
Over the past several years, the North Country Council (NCC) has focused over $440,000 in resources on activities designed to lay the groundwork for the sustainable redevelopment of the Wausau Mill and Groveton Paper Board properties and the revitalization of the community and the surrounding area.
In Sept. 2011, NCC was awarded a $150,000 Economic Development Administration (EDA) planning grant for the Groveton Mill Redevelopment Project, allowing a comprehensive business, engineering, and marketing plan to be developed for the potential expansion and improvement of the former Groveton Paper Board and Wausau Mills.
Professors from the State University of New York (SUNY) were on hand to discuss science-based possibilities that are apparently very nearly ready for either construction of a demonstration project or larger-scale commercialization for which the Groveton site might be suitable.
Director Gail McWilliam Jellie of the Division of Agricultural Development of the state Department of Agriculture was on hand, since one of the site's potential uses is for enclosed agriculture production. This could include growing plants for their chemical and other properties as well as for the consumer market.
Charlie Niebling, general manager of New England Wood Pellet, LLC Ė the Northeast's largest manufacturer of wood pellets — was on hand to discuss the potential for using wood fiber in innovative ways, in addition to producing heat and electricity.
A representative of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) was on hand to see what role it could potentially play in bringing new life to the industrial-commercial site.
Northern Community Investment Corp. (NCIC) president-CEO Jon Freeman was there for the same reason. Max Makaitis of Tri-County CAP's Economic Development Services was also on hand.
An owners' representative was also present, explained Jerry Epstein of Perry Videx LLC of Hainesport, N.J., in a Monday morning telephone interview. He and his business partner William Firestone of the Capital Recovery Group jointly own the site and mill buildings under the name Groveton Acquisitions LLC.
"We're pleased to see so much interest in the property and very pleased to see that so many people are committed to developing a viable plan for this property that's vital to Groveton and surrounding communities," Epstein said.
He also said that Groveton Acquisitions had just had its lawyers file an objection to having someone else develop the Brooklyn Dam site. Epstein reiterated that he believes having another party develop the dam site could interfere with the property's sale.