Environmental Project Attempts To Boost Economy In Hancock County 

The federal government is spending $200,000 to help potential property investors in Hancock County separate fact from fiction. “So the idea is you know there’s a lot of older industrial sites, gas stations sites, landfills etc. that people are afraid to invest in because of real or perceived environmental conditions,” says Glenn Daukas. Daukas is the project manager for Campbell Environmental Group who is spearheading the Brownfield Project. The mere perception of environmental issues can reduce the value and use of properties even if there are no issues present, and that can scare off investors. “The idea of this program is to identify these sites and do investigations on them to determine what are the true environmental risks associated with them,” says Daukas. Once the risks are determined they can either clean them up or let investors know the price tag of any needed cleanup. “It’s not an unknown,” Daukas adds, “it’s not some type of thing where they’re saying there used to be ethal-methal bad stuff here and we could be looking at $500,000 to $1 million in cleanup when in reality it may not need any cleanup or in fact a $25-$50,000 cleanup.”One site that is already being called a Brownfield success is Gordon’s Wharf in Sullivan. Tom Martin is the Executive Director of the Hancock County Planning Commission. “Gordon’s wharf was an old granite loading site and the town wishes to acquire it,” says Martin “using the grant money, as a public access to Taunton Bay in Sullivan.”Gordon’s Wharf is close to getting a clean bill of health from the Maine DEP and that has organizers of the project smiling. “That’s the goal of this entire program,” says Daukas, “to identify these sites, identify the risks, and get the property back into a viable economic use, whether it’s open green space, waterfront access, both are a success of this program.” >