WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a tax increment financing district and related development plan for Trafton Road.

The 7-0 vote followed a brief statement by Councilor Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, who said approving the TIF is an invitation to expand economic development. A resident also complained to city officials that motorists are speeding in the area of Trafton Road, creating an unsafe situation.

The council on Oct. 3 took a first vote to approve the TIF, which would encompass three lots totaling 144 acres and is designed to 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 rebuild Trafton Road. The TIF will allow the city to capture new tax dollars for that area and fund its share of the cost of rebuilding the road, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

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.

Mayhew said Tuesday that he was proud councilors took an initial vote Oct. 3 to approve the TIF and comprehensive development plan.

“Trafton Road offers an array of possibilities for an economic platform of multiple dimensions,” he said.

West River Road resident Susan Cobb stood to say she lives around the corner from Trafton Road and that traffic in the area has tripled and people are driving 65 to 70 mph there.

“It’s dangerous,” Cobb said. “My mailbox has been taken out twice, and I live about 13 feet from the road.”

Cobb asked if anything can be done about the problem.

Mayor Nick Isgro said he appreciated Cobb’s reporting the situation and said she had legitimate concerns. He said she should make sure to talk with Roy and Councilor Jackie Dupont, D-Ward 7, about them.

Meanwhile, Ward 5 resident Julian Payne said he had spoken with police Chief Joseph Massey recently and Massey said the Police Department had secured a grant to use for addressing speeding and traffic concerns.

Roy said the city placed mobile speed signs on Trafton and Eight Rod roads and that police are doing more patrolling in that area.

Cindy Jacobs, president of the Board of Trustees for Waterville Public Library, said people also are speeding on West River Road.

Meanwhile, Dupont acknowledged Cobb for coming to the council with her concerns.

“Safety is important,” she said.

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.

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.

Roy said recently that 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.

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.

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.

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.

In other matters Tuesday, the council approved 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 approved 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.

Councilors voted to approve Cynthia Pearl as civil constable and approved an innkeeper’s license to Dana Jenkins, doing business as Anchor House Air BNB at 36 Burleigh St.

City officials also honored Trudy Lovely, retired city cemetery superintendent, by dedicating the annual city report to her.

City Clerk Patti Dubois praised Lovely for all her work.

“Trudy has been such an asset to the city, and I’m happy to honor her any way that I can,” she said.

Lovely sat in the back row of the council chamber with family and friends.

Roy gave her a hug just before she left the room.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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