HOWLAND – Much like many communities in the state that lost a mill. The town of Howland is looking to reinvent itself, starting with the former tannery site.
For 83 years, the Howland Tannery has gone through many changes. After it closed, it remained vacant for many years, until it was torn down due to potential chemical contamination.
“For years it was a major part of the town, it was industry,” said Howland’s Town Manager David Wilson. “It obviously served the community, it created jobs and a tax base for the town. When people talk about the town of Howland, that’s usually what comes to mind, the Howland Tannery,” he added.
To rebuild the area, the town created new walking trails on the tannery’s site, which sits right on the water. This not only offers recreational activities but offers foot traffic for potential new businesses.
“Now that we have the trails going across the site, that’s bringing more income to those businesses,” said Wilson.
The town has already received proposals to occupy the space. They state, this site isn’t just great for new businesses, but is a good spot for existing ones looking to expand.
“There’s been increments of development that has happened to the site,” he said. “There are some small businesses on there but now with the cleanup of the site, we’re ready for the next big thing. We’re ready for actual proposals on site.”
Officials said they want the town to be a gateway to Northern Maine and hope to see more lodging and restaurants come to town.
“The challenge is to find something that fits the community that’s going to be successful,” said Wilson. “One of the challenges is the financial piece of it. That’s why were are looking into doing what we can to draw business in, as far as tax incentive programs.”