The Worumbo Mill building nears an end in Lisbon Falls in July 2016. (Times Record file photo)

LISBON — Lisbon officials plan to redevelop the site of the former Worumbo Mill after learning there are no significant environmental problems lingering at the property.

Earlier this year, the town bought nearly 4 acres of developable land at 1 Canal St., the site of the former textile mill near the corner of Route 196 and Main Street. The white mill building that stood on the property since 1920 was torn down in July 2016.

Located along on the Androscoggin River, Lisbon Development Committee believes this parcel, with its scenic view of the river, could be used for parking for downtown, recreation opportunities or other, environment-friendly uses committee chair Scott Hall told the council Tuesday.

Private donations and proceeds from the town’s downtown tax increment financing district could fund redevelopment.

“From a community and economic development standpoint, it’s a diamond in the rough,” Hall said. “The possibilities are endless.”

Councilor Allen Ward said the town gets a hand in guiding development at the site, but if a developer wants to invest in a project there, that could play a role in how the riverfront site is developed.


Council chairman Norm Albert agreed.

“I’m not completely opposed to green space, but I certainly would say that’s low on my list of things that I want to see there,” Albert said.

The town landed a $200,000 grant from the Brownfields Assessment Grant Program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to clean up and reuse contaminated properties. The council hired TRC out of Scarborough to do an environmental assessment of the former Worumbo Mill site.

I’m pleased to report that in general terms it is a clean site,” Charles Springer of TRC told the council Sept. 17. “We did not find really much of anything out there.”

He did caution town officials that when the Worumbo Mill burned in 1987, the mill owners put a lot of debris on a now-overgrown ball field on the site.

“In that portion of the site, there is some asbestos,” Springer said. “That’s actually something that’s pretty easy to deal with but it’s commingled with all this big rock, big granite blocks, rebar, all sorts of stuff. So it will be some effort and labor to pull that out and treat it appropriately.”

On Tuesday, the council directed the town to get prices for temporary fencing around the former baseball field.

The town floated a $1 million bond in November of 2013 to fund the acquisition and possible demolition or renovation of the property, which was overwhelmingly rejected by Lisbon voters. Nearly a year ago, the council voted unanimously to purchase the site for up to $30,000, contingent on an environmental assessment. The town closed on the property in June.

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