Currently showing posts tagged Belfast, Maine

  • Belfast, Maine to receive $400,000 grant from the U.S. EPA for Brownfields Assessment Program

    The Belfast Shipyard has transformed the waterfront bringing needed economic development. The former site used to be a chicken factory, photo by Ramona du Houx


    The City of Belfast learned that it was recently selected to receive a $400,000 Brownfields Assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which will be used to continue the City of Belfast Brownfields Assessment Program. 

    In all Maine will receive $7,340,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Program to assess and cleanup polluted properties throughout the state.

    “Brownfield grants have been absolutely critical in helping Maine communities move forward by cleaning up sites contaminated by former industrial uses so they can be redeveloped. Both directly and indirectly, they have created and supported many jobs throughout the state,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “I’m very glad that these communities will receive funds to boost economic development and protect environmental health.”

    Under this program, owners, developers, and/or prospective purchasers of ‘brownfield’ properties - commercial and industrial properties in Belfast that have redevelopment potential, but which are currently vacant or underutilized due to known or perceived contamination from petroleum or other potential hazardous materials, can receive an environmental assessment and/or cleanup plan for that property, in order to provide environmental due diligence in support of bank financing, to document the environmental liabilities and associated cleanup costs, to help revitalize these properties, and/or to protect the environment and public health. 

    The City of Belfast Brownfields Assessment Program is a voluntary program, and the services are provided at no charge; however the information and reports that are generated by this program become available to the general public.  Owners, purchasers, and/or developers submit a brief application to the City’s Brownfields Selection Committee, who selects the brownfields to be assessed under this program.  

    The City’s program, launched at the beginning of 2012, has already resulted in the assessment of 19 brownfield sites, including ones where the assessments have been followed by environmental cleanup, such as the Old Waldo County Jail, the City-owned parcel located at 45 Front Street (known formerly as the Maskers’ Theater property), and 12-28 Washington Street.  To date, the City of Belfast has received a total of $1.0 million in brownfields assessment funding, with grants being previously awarded in both 2011 and in 2013. 

    The City plans to begin outreach and promotion for their program over the next few months, to find new sites to enroll and assess.  

    Persons with interest in the City’s Brownfields Assessment Program are encouraged to contact Thomas Kittredge, Economic Development Director, at (207) 338-3370, extension 16, or via e-mail at, where they can have confidential, no-obligation discussions regarding the program and their site(s).  Information about the City of Belfast Brownfields Assessment Program can also be found at

    EPA's Brownfields Program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. 


  • Passy Pete, the lobster, predicted six more weeks of summer in Belfast, Maine

    By Ramona du Houx

    Labor Day has been known to mark the end of the summer and the start of the fall season. But this Labor Day, Belfast, Maine attempted to change that tradition with Passy Pete—the lobster bell-weather predictor of summer.  The lobster decided there would be six more weeks of summer. The Belfast Barons, of city officials, caught Pete in the Penobscot Bay, placed two scrolls in front of him, and he chose which one would be read to the crowd.

    The community made their way down to the waterfront, waved signs and cheered Pete on. Of course the scroll that Pete's claws picked was the one most everyone hoped for.

    "For Pete knows the ways of happy tourists, that plowmen will think it's a bummer, but there will be six more weeks of summer," read co-founder Dave Crabiel. "We now have six more weeks of summer in Belfast. That's fantastic." 

    How did a lobster become a predictor of the weather instead of dinner?

     "Local business owners lament the fact that summer is just about over, so we were thinking, 'Boy, it would be nice if we had an anti-groundhog, somebody who predicts six more weeks of summer,” said Crabiel.

    Hence a new tradition has been born in Belfast, Maine.

  • Speaker Eves highlights Belfast- a city full of wonder and job growth

    Front Yard Shipyard set up business in 2010, has expanded and now occupies an area where old chicken factories used to be in Belfast. Gov. Baldacci's Pine Tree Zones helped to attract the company to the city.

    Photo by Ramona du Houx

     Green jobs and health care innovation were the focus of a statewide jobs tour led by House Speaker Mark Eves in the Belfast area on August 20, 2015. 

    The tour came as news broke that Verso Paper Mill would layoff 300 workers. 

    “The layoffs at Verso are reminder of how important it is for our leaders to focus on growing good jobs and strong wages in our state. Our state lags the nation in job growth and we must do better,” said Eves, D-North Berwick. “Belfast is leading the way when it comes to writing Maine’s comeback story. We’ve seen area leaders, business, workers, and the entire community come together to turnaround the city from the former home of a collapsing poultry processing industry to a vibrant city, growing jobs in alternative energy, healthcare and local manufacturing.”

    The burgeoning bayside city has been profiled for its “green renaissance,” focusing on local job growth in sustainable industries, from alternative energy to local food and health care innovation. In the 1950's Belfast was known as a chicken processing center where the bay's water was once full of chicken parts. Since 2002 the Baldacci administration helped grow the creative economy of the area with bonds for communities and Pine Tree Zone tax breaks. Local citizens took the opportunities to bring back their city.

    ReVision Energy has doubled its workforce in Liberty this year and now employs 101 people.

    “We are creating good-paying local jobs by helping Mainers make the transition to clean, renewable energy," said ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe. "Some of our best workers come straight to us from Kennebec Valley Community College, bringing the traditional strong Maine work ethic and the highly valuable trades skills that ensure our customers get the highest quality solar installations.”

    “ReVision is providing an antidote to our rising energy costs and our stalled job growth,” said Rep.Christine Burstein. “The work they are doing with community solar farms, which offers solar energy to groups of users, offers so much promise for our future.”

    At AthenaHealth in Belfast, lawmakers learned how the company is using innovative technology to service the healthcare providers and manage data. The company employs 800 workers and is adding 200 new jobs. The Department of Economic and Community Development during the Baldacci administration brought AtheaHealth to Belfast.

    The company has hired workers who have been laid off from closing mills around the state.

    Speaker Eves launched the jobs tour in January to spotlight the need for more jobs and better wages in the state. Lawmakers have met with employers, workers, and community leaders across the state in York, Aroostook, Kennebec, and Somerset counties.   The meetings prompted lawmakers to create the Put ME to Work program this session to partner with employers to train workers across the state for good paying-jobs in growing industries, such as logging, agriculture, health care and manufacturing.