CONCORD, N.H. — Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed a bill opening the way for a Maine businessman’s plan to restore a historic resort in the economically distressed North Country.

Hassan on Wednesday signed the bill that creates a special taxing district allowing the state to back $28 million in bonds toward redeveloping the Balsams, which closed in 2011.

Les Otten is seeking the state-backed bond to help finance the $143 million project that would reopen the Dixville Notch resort where the first presidential ballots traditionally are cast.

“Senate Bill 30 is a critical piece of economic development legislation, giving unincorporated areas the same access to economic development resources as the rest of the state,” Hassan said.

“This bipartisan measure is also an important step forward for advancing the Balsams redevelopment project, which is a bold vision for the revitalization of this historic resort with great potential to create jobs, boost the North Country’s economy, and have a ripple effect for businesses across the state.”

The state’s Business Finance Authority would consider any bonds.

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