Mill restart could mean hundreds of new jobs locally

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Last week’s sale of the mill to a well-heeled Chiniese buyer with long-term commitment to its properties moved forward quickly, with plans to bring more than 100 jobs here within just a few months.

In the long run, it has the potential to create many jobs beyond that, both directly and indirectly related to the mill.

Randy Chicoine, who currently oversees operations at the Rumford mill and also will do the same in Old Town, said 120 workers are being sought immediately for the planned startup here in the first quarter of 2019. Advertising is being done online and in newspapers; those interested in applying can also directly call the human resources department at the Rumford mill.

But those 120 jobs won’t be the only ones involving the mill restart, Ron Harriman, Old Town’s economic development director said studies have indicated that for every one job created in industries such as the mill, seven other jobs are indirectly either created or saved.

Wood will be needed to make pulp, for instance. It is anticipated that much of it will come from the companies involved with CVG, which consists of three members of three families that are among the largest timberland owners in the state. Others who cut and haul wood, however, should have opportunities as well in Old Town.

On a small scale, those people who haul wood in turn perhaps will buy gas locally, or stop and get a lunch. On the larger scale, perhaps some of those who work for the mill will buy homes, offering new work for local real estate agents.

Additionally, there is the biomass boiler at the mill, which will be part of its operations. That technology remains under study by UMaine, which still will have its facility onsite working on biomass technology. Other parties that had been interested in locating to the mill campus won’t have the opportunity there, but remain interested in starting business ventures in Old Town.

“All of this impacts the tax base, but it also helps in other ways – to revitalize the downtown, to support existing and open new businesses. It’s a giant boost to Old Town in so many ways,” said Harriman.