WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday will consider taking a second, final vote to approve a tax increment financing district and related development plan for Trafton Road.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center at 93 Main St. downtown.

The council on Oct. 3 unanimously OK’d the TIF and plan, and one more vote is required to finalize it. The TIF, which would encompass three lots totaling 144 acres, would help create jobs and expand the tax base, according to city officials.

Before a new $5 million Interstate 95 interchange at Trafton Road was built, the city entered into an agreement with the state Department of Transportation and the developer, Trafton Properties, that the city would help to rebuild Trafton Road.

The TIF would allow the city a source of funding to pay for its share, which is limited to $500,000. The state would pick up the rest of the cost of the $1.5 million construction.

Funded by federal, state and private money, the full interchange at mile 124, which includes northbound and southbound on and off ramps, opened in mid-July.

City Manager Michael Roy said Oct. 3 that he said he is not sure when Trafton Road will be rebuilt, because after the council approves the TIF, it would go to the state Department of Economic and Community Development for approval. How long that will take is unknown.

A TIF would allow the city to capture new tax dollars for that area and fund its share of the road construction cost, according to Roy. He said he thinks the city will borrow $500,000 and use the TIF money to pay off its debt.

The proposed TIF is for 30 years. For the first 20 years, 100 percent of new value in the district would be sheltered, 75 percent would be sheltered for years 21 through 25, and 50 percent in years 26 through 30. New value would include building construction in the district.

The new interchange at Trafton Road is drawing interest from companies working in the areas of logistics and transportation, precision manufacturing, construction, marine technology and aquaculture, environmental services and energy.

The DOT plans to rebuild Trafton Road to accommodate the changes and increased traffic. Businesses, city officials and those who live in the area say many more people are traveling Trafton Road to enter and exit I-95 at the interchange. Trafton Properties, which provided major funding for the interchange, already has a building that is fully occupied with businesses at the corner of Trafton and West River roads. That 227,000-square-foot building is the former Wyandotte Mill.

Trafton Properties owns 921 acres in Sidney and Waterville. In August the company got approval from the city’s Planning Board to build next to the former mill a 120,000-square-foot commercial building to house new businesses.

At the Planning Board meeting, Christi Holmes, of Gorrill Palmer Consulting Engineers, of Gray, said the building would be constructed about a mile from the new I-95 interchange on a 75-acre site set back 150 feet from the southern abutter.

The building’s owner anticipates having six tenants who might use the space for warehousing, storage and possibly light manufacturing, she said.

The interchange project was funded by Trafton Properties, which pitched in $1.81 million plus engineering and other costs, a $1 million federal Economic Development Administration grant and $2 million from the state DOT.

The idea was to have the interchange take pressure off Kennedy Memorial Drive, which is congested with traffic, including trucks entering and exiting I-95. Before the Trafton Road interchange was built, trucks traveled north on West River Road past Thomas College and entered I-95 via Kennedy Memorial Drive more than 5 miles away.

The interchange was the state’s first project under the Business Partnership Initiative, which gives road projects a higher priority if developers help pay for them. Geared toward projects that help local economic development efforts, it splits the project’s costs.

DOT officials say the department plans to rebuild Trafton Road so that it is built to standard, similar to the way Lyons Road in Sidney was rebuilt after an I-95 interchange was built there many years ago.

Currently, travel lanes on Trafton Road are 10 feet wide. According to DOT’s current draft design, they would be widened to 11 feet with 4-foot paved shoulders, for a total of 30 feet of pavement.

While the road is city-owned, the state will take ownership in the future.

In other matters Tuesday, the council will consider using $4,300 from downtown TIF money to prepare a detailed survey plan of the former Elden Inn property off Main Street downtown so a city-owned parking lot may be created there.

Councilors also will consider approving an environmental covenant that would place limits on use of property on West River Road that includes lagoons used by the former Wyandotte Mill. The council took a first vote Oct. 3 to approve the covenant.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.