SKOWHEGAN — A big Christmas tree will be going up where the former Skowhegan Electronics building and two others came down last month.

“I got the green light for the red and green lights,” Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Jennifer Olsen said. “I want a big one, just like Rockefeller Center.”

Olsen said Jim Batey, executive director of Somerset Economic Development Corp., which owns the downtown property at the corner of Madison Avenue and Commercial Street, agreed to put up the tree just in time for Skowhegan’s Holiday Stroll, Dec. 2-4.

The electronics building, which became known as Skowhegan’s eyesore, along with two other attached buildings, was demolished Oct. 22-23 and the debris hauled away. Crews from McCarthy Enterprises of Skowhegan, which did the demolition work, back-filled the open space, graded it and seeded it for a possible park next spring and summer.

Olsen and Batey said Main Street Skowhegan’s Design Committee will work with the community through public forums to determine plans for the space.

“We’re really excited to be at the table about all this,” Olsen said. “Short term, we’ll put a Christmas tree up. Boy, wouldn’t that be a beautiful spot for a great big tree.”

Some of the long-term ideas for the space could ultimately include turning it over to the town of Skowhegan, but acceptance of the lot would have to be approved by a vote at a town meeting, Town Manager John Doucette Jr. said. The next special town meeting has been set for Feb. 14.

Other ideas for the corner have included possibly moving the iconic Skowhegan Indian to the site. The Indian, a towering, 62-foot wooden statue by artist Bernard Langlais, is owned by the Chamber of Commerce.

Continued use of the site as a green pocket park with benches and art work, possibly a sculpture, also is possible, Olson said.

“Because it’s such a gateway location, some kind of ‘welcome to Skowhegan’ message would be nice, too,” she said.

Batey said development corporation membership will discuss options for the site during the winter and get the public involved in plans.

“I think it would look nice coming down over the hill to see a nice green space with maybe a monument, park benches, a flower garden,” he said.

Doucette said the loss of tax revenue of about $1,530 the town received annually from the building owners before demolition will be missed, but the demolition is worth the loss.

“I think what we gain, as far as aesthetics there, offsets the taxes from the building,” he said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.