Phil Bartlett, Maine State Senate District Six  

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Senate Passes Westbrook Pine Tree Zone Bill

May 24, 2006

AUGUSTA – Senator Philip Bartlett II (D-Cumberland County) was pleased to announce that, LD 2091 “An Act to Make Changes to the Laws Regarding Pine Tree Development Zones,” was passed by the Senate yesterday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Driscoll (D-Westbrook) and co-sponsored by Senator Bartlett will create a Pine Tree Development Zone on the site of the SAPPI paper mill in downtown Westbrook. Pine Tree Zones were first created three years ago, and provide tax incentives for job creation. They have been instrumental in bringing new job opportunities in economically depressed areas.

“I was thrilled that we were able to pass this measure,” said Senator Bartlett. “It will make a real difference for Westbrook and the surrounding communities by providing an additional and potent development tool to the city.”

“I was happy to sponsor this legislation, and supply another option to bring economic development to our community,” said Rep. Driscoll. “These types of properties are one of a kind and irreplaceable. If lost, the ability to create the good paying manufacturing jobs those sites can bring are lost as well. Losing that option is detrimental to not only those communities but to our economy.”

“Westbrook is uniquely poised for growth, and we need to have more tools to ensure responsible development,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Bob Duplessie, D-Westbrook, another co-sponsor of the bill. “Our community has a lot of potential for innovative investments, as IDEXX Laboratories demonstrated with its recent expansion. The Pine Tree Zone designation will help us act on that potential, and attract new businesses with good-paying, sustainable jobs.”

The site is particularly well suited for development, as it is already hooked up to industrial electrical capacity, water and sewage, and good highway and rail access. The bill awaits final passage and the Governor’s signature.

Senator Bartlett is Chair of the Utilities Energy Committee, and represents the communities of Gorham, Scarborough and Westbrook. For more information contact Senator Bartlett at (207) 287-1515.