PI council discusses broadband, land bank

1 year ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For the first time in many months, the Presque Isle City Council returned its chambers on the third floor of City Hall on March 1.   

The City Council held an educational meeting on SAD 1 broadband that has mapped out the dead zones in SAD 1 communities for council member review.

Presque Isle hired Mission Broadband to study deadzone areas along rural roads in SAD 1 communities. For example, Egypt Road has 35 households that don’t have access to broadband. The next step would be to get state funds to calculate the costs of installing broadband access from two state programs for technical assistance for those calculations and the other is for broadband construction and roll out.

“We are well ahead of the rest of the state,” said Economic and Development Director Galen Weibley. “Aroostook County has been very proactive in mapping all this out and working together as a coalition.” 

The City Council approved the scheduling of a public hearing in April to establish a land bank authority to determine the best redevelopment option for city-owned land. The board would include residents with experience in economic development and real estate, Weibley said. 

The land parcels would be eligible for state redevelopment funds, and the land bank would give a clean deed for properties with previous tax liens, he said.

In other business, councilors approved an amendment for the Presque Isle Development Fund bylaws that would allow trustees to approve any loan applications below $15,000. To address conflicts of interest, trustees and city council will not vote on loans applied for by family members.

The WARM loan program language was clarified to state a maximum request of $20,000 per unit. Downtown Facade loan program with amounts under $15,000 requires a public hearing and needs approval by the City Council.

The city council approved a marijuana license renewal for Northern Maine Flower and a liquor license for Confectionately Yours.

Councilors approved a proclamation honoring the Presque Isle Historical Society for its 60 years of non-profit service since they were established on March 23, 1963. The month of April 2023 will be Presque Isle Historical Society month throughout the city and encourages all citizens to support the Society’s mission.

Another proclamation will honor the Presque Isle Rotary Club in their 100th anniversary year since their founding on April 5, 1923. The week beginning April 24 will recognize the Rotary Club for their service to improve the human condition in local communities and around the world.