Around the Region

Collins praises Riverfront Redevelopment as wave of the future

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer
    DOVER-FOXCROFT — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins toured Piscataquis County on Oct. 10 literally from one end to the other.
    She started with an appearance at Greenville Consolidated School in the morning and ended with a reception at the Three Rivers Kiwanis Club in Milo in the late afternoon.
    Her other stops included stores in downtown Greenville and lunch at the Stress Free Moose, the Maine Store in Abbot, Hardwood Products and Davis Brothers Furniture in Guilford and the Riverfront Development Project in Dover-Foxcroft.
    Collins praised the transformation of the former Moosehead Manufacturing Company plant into commercial and residential space, using a combination of state, federal and private funding.
    “What I have noticed throughout Maine is the revitalization of the center of town,” Collins said. “Downtowns have come back, years after businesses had abandoned them and strip malls proliferated throughout the country.”

    The Riverfront Development Project, when completed, will have 60,000 square feet of mixed-use space including a restaurant, data center and boutique inn with 22 apartments on the upper floor.
    “People like to be within walking distances of where they live, they shop and they eat,” Collins said. “I think this kind of mixed-use development with commercial space and apartments is the future of towns like Dover-Foxcroft. This is such a beautiful area, so this will be a real boost to the region.”
    Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Angus King also visited Hardwood Products and learned that their greatest competition was from Chinese firms who were exporting a substantial number of wood-based medical products to the United States.
    Collins said she was also concerned. “This has been a real problem,” she said. “At one point, the paper industry won a case before the International Trade Commission. I remember testifying on behalf of the workers in Maine. The ITC ruled that the Chinese were dumping — or illegally pricing — products on the American market. I think that’s still happening.”
    Collins added that “China does not play by the rules. This administration needs to be much tougher opposing countervailing duties and enforcing our international trade agreements.”
    The Republican senator, who is opposed by Democrat Shenna Bellows in next month’s election, said that her campaign is going “extremely well. My campaign bus has 5,500 miles on it so far, we’ve visited 80 communities — and I mean really visiting. We don’t just fly through on the bus.”
    Collins said that meeting people face-to-face “on Main Street and in cafes and diners is my favorite way to campaign.”
    She said that the two major issues voters seemed to be concerned about “are the need for more jobs and economic development and people’s objection to the partisanship and divisiveness that has led to gridlock. It’s encouraging that many people have thanked me for my efforts to gather coalitions to come up with pragmatic solutions.”
    Collins, a Caribou native, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, and has served as the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging in and previously as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security from 2003-07.
    She lost her first bid for public office when she ran for governor in 1994, placing third behind Democrat Joseph E. Brennan and the winner, Independent candidate Angus King, her future Senate colleague.


NE-ColorCollins-S-PO-42Observer photo/Mike Lange
    ON THE TRAIL — Janet Sawyer of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council, left, and Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey chat with Sen. Susan Collins during her stop at the Riverfront Redevelopment Project on Oct. 10.

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