Hartland residents at a special town meeting this week agreed to form two limited liability companies to set the stage for possible brownfield cleanup grants for contaminated land at the bankrupt Irving Tanning Co. annex and to turn the property over to a town resident who will create as many as 10 jobs in demolishing many of the existing buildings.

Irving Tanning abandoned the property during bankruptcy proceedings because the company did not have money to pay for cleaning up contaminated land, according to a summary of the project by Town Manager Christopher Littlefield. No one offered to buy the property, where on-site pollution includes lead paint, asbestos, petroleum, buffing dust contamination and problems related to an old burn pile.

Estimates of the cost of remediating the problems are in the $600,000 range, according to Littlefield, who declined to discuss the matter Friday before talking to selectmen Monday night.

Irving will keep a portion of the property that runs parallel to Route 23, where there is a contaminated “ground water plume.” The town is taking an eight-year option to possibly get that land.

In approving the nine-article special town meeting warrant Monday night, residents agreed to the future transfer of the annex land from the two Hartland LLCs to resident Calvin Warner, who will establish Cal’s Way LLC to do the cleanup. Warner, a retired developer from Connecticut who moved to Hartland in 2003, has been “a catalyst for rehabbing the annex property,” Littlefield wrote in the summary.

The town also agreed to take $40,000 from surplus as a partial match to secure brownfield grant money.

Warner has paid for all attorney fees and “has put all the political effort into freeing up the environmental restrictions” as well as two liens that exist on the property. The Finance Authority of Maine and the Maine Rural Development Authority will not give up their liens on the former Irving property without an economic redevelopment plan, he wrote.

Littlefield wrote that Warner has agreed to take over the property at his own expense and coordinate the cleanup effort, which will include demolition of 70 to 80 percent of the buildings over 36 months. The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection have negotiated a plan to clean up the site.

He said the town is applying for a $200,000 brownfield grant through Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, with a required 20 percent local match. CES Inc., a Maine engineering firm, has been contracted by the town to conduct an environmental study of the site, which is necessary to secure brownfield grant money.

The town will take the lead on the cleanup and turn lots over to Warner as each lot is completed.

Littlefield writes that Warner is not getting the property “free of charge.”

“In my opinion he is helping the town and he is bearing all the risk associated with a defunct site,” Littlefield says in his summary of the plan. “I don’t think this is considered free.”

Warner could not be reached for comment Friday.

Littlefield notes that he has known Warner only since May but has worked many hours with him going over plans and ideas for the annex building and land.

He writes that projects performed “Cal’s Way” in Maine include a 200-foot bridge across the Dead River at Grand Falls in The Forks and work on trails at the Quarry Road Recreational Area in Waterville. He also designed and built an outdoor grill at the Blaine House, the governor’s residence, in Augusta.

Littlefield said Warner and his wife, Laura, “like to give back” to the community. They volunteer for a week each year at a Boy Scout camp in Eddington. The couple also cleaned up a house lot for the town a couple of years ago at no cost to the town.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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