A town that was on life support was given a shot of adrenaline Tuesday.
"This is a very exciting day to announce an anchor tenant at the former Great Northern Paper Mill site," said Mike Seile, a board member for Our Katahdin.
When the mill closed back in 2008, hundreds of workers were displaced and laid off. But thanks to a new Cross Laminated Timber Company (CLT), that's all going to change.
"What we build are long panels that could be laid out very quickly," said Nick Holgorsen, the managing director for LignaTerra Global, LLC. "This process is like Legos for adults."
LignaCLT Maine announced its plan to become the first Maine-based manufacturing company, producing mass timber products across the state.
"90 percent of the state is trees, that's the core part of our product," said Holgorsen. "In CLT, it's where the resources come from."
More than 100 direct jobs are expected to be created within the next five years for the Katahdin region. Some of those jobs include machinery, fork lift operators and engineers. It's also expected to also create indirect jobs.
"It's a win-win for everybody," said Joseph Clark, the chair for Millinocket's town council. "Hopefully we can have the labor force that has been laid off from the mill, but also the education that we can get from the different universities and community colleges to retrain these people."
CLT is an engineered wood product that competes with concrete and steel construction. It's stated to reduce construction time by more than 33 percent.
"I believe with good paying jobs and that beautiful backyard, they'll come back," said Seile.
The company is expecting to break ground in the former mill site this summer and expects to become fully operational in a year.
"I think this will be a good positive news for the region," said Seile. "It's something they've been waiting for for a very long time."
The entire project is estimated to cost close to $30 million per site. The company is looking to take advantage of the state's incentive programs.
"We're trying to get the right parties, the right partners in order to aggregate something that's going to be beneficial to the region and be sustainable long term," said Dr. Brien Walton, the director of the Center for Family Business at Husson University.