By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - This town may have lost its manufacturing base when Dexter Shoe Co. ceased its operations here a couple of years ago, but the gloom and doom forecast for the community never materialized for local retail businesses, according to officials.
Today, retail business is brisk and all of the Main Street storefronts, but one, are occupied. That storefront, the so-called Fossa building, is expected to be filled in the near future thanks to action taken by the Town Council Thursday.
The council voted to deed property at 12 Beech Street, previous Housing and Urban Development property that was turned over to the town for $1, to the Dexter Regional Development Corp. The corporation, which will reimburse the town the closing and legal fees associated with the deed conveyance, will in turn sell the property and use the proceeds for the purchase of the empty Fossa building. The corporation wants to renovate it and advertise the prime property for business development.
"The Dexter Regional Development Corp. is very pleased that the council conveyed the property because it's going to give us a big boost to accomplish bigger economic development projects and goals for the community," Judy Wilbur Craig, a member of the council and president of the corporation, said Friday. Craig and Rick Goodwin, a council member and a member of the corporation, both abstained from the vote to convey the property.
Town Manager Robert Simpson said that when he first arrived in Dexter in 1997, about half of the storefronts were empty. This is the first time the town has had as many stores open. "It's nice to look out and see lights in all the windows now," he said Friday.
Businesses that have filled storefronts in recent months include The Hop, Country Charm,a gift shop next to Darby Creek Soups, and Mr. Paperback, occupying the old Ben Franklin building. The latter business previously operated in Newport, but is currently moving its operations to Dexter.
Simpson said the town had been offered other HUD properties in the past, but they were declined because of their condition. This property was a good acquisition for the town and fit well into the development corporation's goals, he told the town council.
Craig said Penquis CAP has agreed to help the corporation make the necessary repairs to the small single family home on Beech Street. Because HUD owned the property, the corporation must sell it to an individual who meets the low-to-moderate income guidelines.
"Fortunately we're in a great real estate market right now," Craig said, adding that the real estate boom should make for a quick sale of the property.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|