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Old 11-23-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Saco, ME
176 posts, read 412,743 times
Reputation: 107

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I drove the Biddeford mills yesterday on a whim. I'd never been down there so I thought I'd check it out. And I am glad I did! It has so much promise! I'd read the Biddeford Mill District Master Plan before, but wow! You enter from Main Street into this parking lot, and two giant mill buildings surround it. There had to be 20 small business all on the first floor. Dance studios, a pub, art studios, a violin repair place, you name it! Then I drove through an entrance into the heart of the mills and it was a differant world. The mills rose on both sides and I could just picture stores on both sides, outdoor cafes, people walking around. There were roads winding through the mills and it seemed neverending. The architecture was surberb. Even though the redevelopment is only partly underway, the hard work already shows. It was still dirty and the road was crappy, but they had begun to clean up the bricks and add new walkways. Apparently, they will be adding 3-4 parking garages in and around downtown Biddeford and the mills. They want to take down the incinerator (from what I've seen) and add in new offices and residential units. A riverwalk, new buildings, new streets and sidewalks, parks. The mills will be home to 839 residential units, and 600,000 SF of commericial use. When I got home, I looked on google maps to see the aerial view of the mills. I thought I had been through the whole complex, but come to find out, I had only scratched the surface. Sorry for the jumbled thoughts. I am very excited about this and hope that it all happens (it is still in the conceptual stage for the most part)!

P.S.
Here is the website, watch the presentation from 8/26, it is espiecially informative and interesting!

Biddeford Mill District Master Plan (http://www.cssboston.com/projects/biddeford/index.htm - broken link)


Last edited by lookinforahome; 11-23-2008 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Boston
5,410 posts, read 9,487,689 times
Reputation: 5796
Great Post. I think that as Portland starts to reach close to its full potential as a small city that has been revitalized, the magic will spread down towards Saco and Biddeford.

Many people see blight and trouble when they drive through the area, but I see a dense, pretty Main St. with large mill buildings off to the side, and most of all... Potential. It's happened and is happening in other New England cities (Fall River MA, Lowell MA, Haverhill MA, and New Bedford MA) and Biddeford/Saco is the next spot.

I have been impressed with what's happened on Saco Island, but there's SO much more potential for Main St. Biddeford and the surrounding mills and unfortunately, people take it for granted. As long as people have an attitude like yours, Lookinforahome, revitalization will continue to occur.

Again, great post and I too enjoy seeing what's happening down there.
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:04 PM
 
20 posts, read 40,451 times
Reputation: 33
while its good that there is a plan to use the space, its too bad that industry has left the state of Maine. Mill jobs pay better than clerk jobs at stores and waitress and bar staff at pubs. Mills produced product, bars and shops produce nothing, the shops sell things made in China....good for their economy I guess.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,748 posts, read 5,146,238 times
Reputation: 2678
I always love to see these old buildings, with their history of so many busy hands, being revitalized. I'v e seen some successes in MA, some not so aggressive attempts elsewhere.
I think the State of ME needs to get REALLY proactive about new infrastructure and alternative, renewable energy production to make ME more attractive to outside industrialists and supportive of new cottage industry. Of course this is a real dilemma now that finances are so strained.
Me has a history of expensive overhead because of high heating costs and power supply. Quality, hard-working labor has always been a given, at least for the blue collar industries. Product and services have to cover miles of area on fairly rural roads that don't efficiently span the state.
We have numerous hydro-electric potential (if only it weren't all sold to the grid at large to the south of us). Wind, solar, geothermal, and other technologies are just being explored.
I'd really like to see Mainers ingenuity being employed to supply industry, small and large, with power, communications, and freight capabilities without destroying the natural resources that make us love it here. I could see how those old mill buildings could bloom.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:05 PM
 
11,170 posts, read 11,287,897 times
Reputation: 15690
mill re-development is happening all over maine, maine was an industry powerhouse in yrs gone by,,
the more we buy from walmart, (slave labor) the more industry/manufacturing jobs have been, and will be lost.
mill and manufacturing jobs,,,did pay better than service jobs..

sorry to get off-track,
i see many old mills trying to re-develop, some with great success!!!
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:42 PM
 
20 posts, read 40,451 times
Reputation: 33
we have dams, because of fish they are being torn out, at tax payer expense, and being replaced with wind turbines at tax payer expense. just like the revitalization of old mills, again tax payer expense. There used to be a huge Nike factory in Biddeford. Industry adds to the tax base, fish do not...and before someone goes all environazi on me all dams have fish ways to help fish get over, you ought to see the one at Ripogenus Dam, pretty impressive. Maine has a 30 plus year history of not being business friendly. Taxes and enviromental restrictions keep business out of Maine, therefore good paying jobs. To bad, because Maine people are hard workers and should be able to make a living wage, no one is going to do that waiting tables for tourists.
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Old 11-24-2008, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
2,748 posts, read 5,146,238 times
Reputation: 2678
Quote:
Originally Posted by patriotchick View Post
we have dams, because of fish they are being torn out, at tax payer expense, and being replaced with wind turbines at tax payer expense. just like the revitalization of old mills, again tax payer expense. There used to be a huge Nike factory in Biddeford. Industry adds to the tax base, fish do not...and before someone goes all environazi on me all dams have fish ways to help fish get over, you ought to see the one at Ripogenus Dam, pretty impressive. Maine has a 30 plus year history of not being business friendly. Taxes and enviromental restrictions keep business out of Maine, therefore good paying jobs. To bad, because Maine people are hard workers and should be able to make a living wage, no one is going to do that waiting tables for tourists.
I would say that most states nowadays have implemented lots of environmental restrictions. Maine suffers because its at the farthest NE reach of the country. Freight, heating fuel, and taxes do in most large businesses here.
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