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Presque Isle Industrial Council: 2018 noteworthy for new businesses

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With an ever increasing awareness of Aroostook County’s dwindling population, officials from the Presque Isle Industrial Council say that the past year served as one of the most successful recent periods of new business growth and expansion, bringing jobs and money into the local economy.

In 2018, the Skyway Industrial Park, which sits on 440 acres near Parsons Street, saw the expansions of Falcon Transportation, Aroostook Trusses and Dead River Corp. Falcon Transportation opened a new truck and trailer repair shop that the company operates at 5 Taxiway Street. Tom Powers, executive director for the Presque Isle Industrial Council, said the repair shop brought about many new local job openings for mechanics.

One of the most substantial sales of the past year, Powers noted, was Aroostook Trusses’ acquisition of the former Converse footwear manufacturing building, a 40,000 square foot facility, to expand business at 655 Missile Street. In addition, Dead River completed construction on a new transfer and storage facility for propane. In August the company began construction on a similar facility for fuel and diesel oil that has an expected completion date of March 2019. Both facilities will be located on 4.5 acres in the Industrial Park.

Scarborough, Maine-based Portland Air Freight, a tractor-trailer delivery company, also completed construction of a $.5 million complex that includes cross dock and storage capabilities to service deliveries in the northern Maine region.

“I think our greatest asset in the park has been having ‘shovel-ready development sites,’ which means over the years we’ve taken care of the permit processes for the Department of Environmental Protection and zoning and have maintained the road infrastructure around these properties,” Powers said. “It’s one less thing for potential tenants to be concerned about.”

The past year also introduced one of Skyway Industrial Park’s most profitable future tenants — the Maine Army National Guard’s Northern Maine Readiness Center. Eagle Lake-based Devoe Construction  started work on the $18.5 million 43,000 square foot facility in October. Construction has since ceased for the winter and will resume in spring.

The facility will house 85 of the 146 members of the 185th Engineer Support Company and include a large assembly hall, classrooms, a multi-purpose training room, offices and meeting spaces, a physical fitness room and a two-bay maintenance bay for military vehicles. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with the facility’s opening slated for early 2021.

Powers said that 2019 is shaping up to be another successful year as several companies have discussed with the Industrial Council the possibility of coming to Presque Isle.

“We’re always pursuing ventures with new businesses that will contribute to the workforce and the city’s taxbase,” Powers said. “2018 proved to be an exceptional year for development in the Industrial Park and we expect 2019 to be another productive year.”

The Presque Isle Industrial Council has an operational budget of $393,000 for municipal year 2019 that covers maintenance of facilities and grounds, infrastructural repairs, equipment costs and employee salaries. Powers estimates that the council returns around $70,000 or more in revenue to the city each year from investments in new and expanding businesses.

“We have a good track record of being frugal with taxpayer dollars while making the Industrial Park a prime location for development,” Powers said.

The Skyway Industrial Park also is home to businesses and organizations such as A&L Construction, ACME Monaco, the Presque Isle International Airport, UPS and FedEx distribution sites, the Central Aroostook Humane Society, Northern Maine Community College, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs administrative and health buildings.

 

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