Family Dollar expresses interest in opening Guilford store

By Bill Pearson
Staff Writer

    GUILFORD — Hunt Real Estate has obtained a permit to construct a 8,320-square foot Family Dollar store with 37 parking spaces on Elm Street. The new store is being proposed for the previous site of the former Ben Franklin store, Methodist church parsonage and Mar’s Laundry. The properties are owned by Clayton Griffin who has contracted with the real estate firm to develop the property for sale.

    Town Manager Tom Goulette updated the selectman on March 5 about how close the project is to completion.
    “After an environmental review and a further engineering study, a closing should follow shortly afterwards,” Goulette said. “Depending on how fast things go, they may be ready to open in time for Christmas. If not, they may not move as fast and then we’re looking at a possible spring opening.”
    Family Store representatives declined to comment last week about any details pertaining to a possible store opening in Guilford.
    “At this time, I cannot confirm a new store for Guilford, as Family Dollar does not have a signed lease for any property in your area,” said Bryn Winburn, Family Dollar  public relations manager.
    The selectmen also heard another proposal to provide an economic boost to the community. The board met with planning board members Matt Holland and Lou Slidell about a proposal to institute a property tax reimbursement fund for small business owners. The proposal is based on the state’s micro-loan program which provides low-interest loans to cash strapped small businesses.
    The fund is designed to provide a quick influx of cash for businesses who demonstrate a financial need. The businesses can use the funds to purchase supplies or broken equipment. The two men believe a town-operated fund would eliminate costly fees and time-consuming regulations which banks and other state-operated programs require.
    Holland has researched the proposal for the past six months. He told the board that the state had no restrictions against local municipalities instituting their own loan program. The two men believe their proposal is on track for a vote at the upcoming town meeting, but it seems their information provided to the selectmen came  too late.
    The selectmen informed the men the proposal would be voted on at a future town meeting because the  deadline for this year’s warrant articles had passed. The selectmen indicated time could be allotted either before or after the March 18 town meeting for Holland to provide residents with information about the program.
    In other action, Goulette informed the selectman about the new deputy clerk. The town has hired Diane Cookson who had served the past 10 years as Palmyra’s administrative assistant. She completed her duties with Palmyra following their March 9 town meeting. She will start in her new job on March 18 on the day Guilford will conduct their town meeting.
    The board also received information from Moosehead Enterprises Inc. regarding a $1.95 increase in basic cable television rates. The increase will be instituted on April 1 which brings the cost of basic cable to $33.95 per month.
    The selectman also appointed Al Hunt to the town’s Economic Development Board. This paved the way for him to be named to the Penquis Steering Committee as a Piscataquis County District 1 representative. The Penquis Steering Committee is a tripartite board which requires representation from the private sector, public sector and someone involved with assisting low-income people.
    Hunt’s appointment to the town’s Economic Development Board also made him eligible to join the local Piscataquis Steering Committee as a public sector official. The steering committee provides feedback to Penquis about their programs.
    The selectman also accepted Rachel Davis’ resignation as a SAD 4 director. Residents will elect her successor at the town meeting.
    The selectmen will meet next at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1 in the municipal building.

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