WATERVILLE — The owner of a new business that will produce hay logs in the former Harris Baking Co. factory says he hopes to start making test logs by Friday.

Peter Bragdon, a Vassalboro farmer who came up with the idea of turning hay unsuitable for livestock into logs that can be burned, told city councilors Tuesday that he has hired 10 people to work in the plant. He said he plans to start with one shift a day a couple of days a week to start. The plant is working on perfecting the product and should have it ready by fall, according to Bragdon.

“I think the city will really benefit from it once we’re up and running,” he said.

Bragdon, owner of Bragdon Farm LLC, spoke to the council at a public hearing that is required as part of a grant process. Bragdon received a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $160,000 loan from Wiscasset-based Coastal Enterprises Inc. for his business.

In response to a question from Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, Bragdon said the business may sell some logs considered seconds to the community, but most of the product is to be sold in stores.

Harris Baking Co. closed in 1998. Bragdon bought the 40,000-square-foot building in January from Dirigo U.S. Ranger Cadets and is using the garage area of the building.


“We’ve got a lot more work to do to the rest of the building,” he said.

He said he hopes to rent out part of the space in the future.


In other business Tuesday, Nancy Williams, a member of the Waterville Community Land Trust, said the trust is raising money to buy its first house on Water Street, which will be sold to a family with low to moderate income.

“In this crazy world, we have actually just found the money to renovate the house we have under option, but we don’t yet have the money to purchase it, so one is contingent on the other,” Williams said.

The home at 182 Water St. in the city’s South End overlooks and abuts the Kennebec River. It was built in 1895.


The new, nonprofit trust plans to buy or acquire houses and land, renovate the houses and sell them at affordable prices. Homeowners may sell the homes later if they wish, but the trust will retain ownership of the land on which they sit and a substantial share of any profit on the sale of the homes. The trust’s goal is to provide affordable homes to families, increase home ownership and help stabilize neighborhoods and protect the historic nature of neighborhoods.

In other matters, Winslow Town Council Chairman Gerald Saint Amand distributed a list touting the many ways Waterville, Winslow, Vassalboro, Oakland and Fairfield may work together, share resources and collaborate, resulting in a total estimated savings of $3.1 million.

“If we take out Oakland and Fairfield, it comes to $2.9 million dollars,” Saint Amand said.

Saint Amand said he asked Winslow Town Manager Michael Heavener to draw up the list because he (Saint Amand) often hears people recommend Waterville and Winslow get together to collaborate.

The list touts $250,000 in savings from sharing administrative duties with Waterville, Winslow and Vassalboro schools; $250,000 in savings among Waterville, Winslow and Oakland from sharing public safety police and fire dispatching services; $1.5 million from Waterville, Winslow, Oakland and Fairfield sharing the wastewater treatment facility at Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District; and a $70,000 savings as a result of the four communities having a police and fire mutual aid agreement.

Also listed are $59,000 in savings from Waterville and Winslow sharing a fire chief; $50,000 from Waterville allowing Winslow to borrow its spare trash truck in exchange for Waterville borrowing a road grader from Winslow; and $46,000 in savings from Oakland and Winslow using Waterville technology staff.


“We have a lot of things that we do together,” Saint Amand said.

The council also agreed to:

• refinance a 2005 general obligation bond for $2.5 million in a 6-0 vote;

• accept a low bid from Nicholson, Michaud & Co. to do the city’s audit for three years at a cost of $35,000 annually;

• buy a $56,220 utility tractor for parks and recreation from Hammond Tractor Co. of Fairfield;

• spend $87,463 for additional work to complete the paving of Drummond Avenue from Armory Road to the Fairfield town line;


• award a $336,338 contract to B&B Paving Inc., of Hermon, to include a $6,569 contingency for the 2015 pavement maintenance program;

• award another $572,173 contract to B&B for the 2015 road bond program;

• award a $24,683 contract to Sherwin Williams Co., of Waterville, for traffic paint and accessory supplies.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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