Article originally published in the Bucksport Enterprise 11/02/23
The Age-and Ability-Friendly Committee (Formerly the SRC) and the Town of Bucksport have been focused on affordable housing in the Bucksport area for many years along with many other local non-profits. All involved are excited to hear that progress is happening and hope is on the horizon for affordable housing! Below is the re-printed article from the Enterprise.
"The Bangor-based low-to-middle income Penquis housing organization is embarking on a multi-million dollar, multi-phase program to refurbish and greatly expand the Know View Apartment complex off Middle Street.
The first phase of the effort involves building 18 one-bedroom apartments that are to be marketed to those over 55, but will go to others if older tenants are not available for empty units. It also calls for significant upgrade in the existing multi-unit apartment buildings and the scattering of duplexes across the 10.25-acre property. It also calls for easier access to some supportive services by the Penquis organization which operates housing throughout the region.
While Penquis has had an option on the site for some two years, it has had several false starts with the longtime owner, Todd Hanson. Hanson had been seeking something in excess of $1 million for the property. The word this week is that the plan and financing are set so it's going on the Planning Board calendar. The project will require a public hearing and notification of the abuttors.
The entire property will continue to be taxable on the town's assessing roles. Town officials who have been working with Penquis developers for many months now in their mutual search for a suitable site for rental housing stress the current plan is only the first phase of a multi-step process to develop more of the site for still more housing especially for those who want or need supportive services. The town also owns a nine-acre parcel adjacent to Knox View. The council also subsidized the sale of Wilson Hall, once a focal point of the seminaries - a Methodist endeavor begun around 1850 and, much later , a Catholic seminarians' school - that also included buildings around the Know View Apartments. The town's high school also once was located at Wilson Hall.
Larry Wahl of Bucksport bought the historic structure that the Town Council came close to to razing, and now is well into the extensive interior renovations needed to put it back into active use. The exterior has also been cleaned up so Wilson Hall again is an asset and not a liability to the neighborhood.
Penquis has been shopping for a Bucksport site for the past couple years after being rebuffed in its effort to buy the town-owned a lot for $1 to a developer of some more upscale housing upper floor apartments with two commercial spaces on the ground floor; although that project has yet to be started."