By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER — The deal was inked Wednesday afternoon.
H.H Brown Co.-Dexter Shoe Co. officials and the Town Council on Wednesday signed a purchase and sale agreement for shoe company property on Water Street. H.H. Brown is Dexter Shoe’s parent company.
Both parties agreed to a purchase price of $159,000 and a closing date of no later than March 17, 2003.
Now the town must work to secure state and federal funds to pay for the purchase and the planned renovations to make the building suitable for three separate industries. The sale is contingent upon the grants. Town officials are working with Eastern Maine Development Corp. to secure a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant and $100,000 from the Economic Development Administration. The pre-application for the CDBG grant was submitted electronically within the past few days.“I’m pleased, but it’s just the first step in a long road ahead,” Dexter Town Manager Robert Simpson said after the signing.
Town officials have worked long and hard to bring some economic stability to the community after Dexter Shoe Co.’s announcement last year that it would cease its local manufacturing operations by Jan. 1, 2002. That closure resulted in the loss of more than 700 jobs.
Negotiations for the purchase of one of the company buildings have been ongoing since the company made the announcement.
Although Dexter Shoe officials originally requested a closing date for the purchase by Jan. 17, 2003, town officials rejected it, saying it would not give them time enough to submit the grants.
The council then made a counterproposal using March 17, 2003, as a closing date. Town officials also requested an answer from Dexter Shoe Co. regarding the purchase agreement by Sept. 23.
That answer from Dexter Shoe Co. officials came quicker than anticipated. Company officials notified the town Wednesday that the terms were acceptable to them. Simpson said he called town council members into the office Wednesday afternoon so each could sign the document.
“It’s a daring initiative, but the step has to be taken,” Simpson said. He applauded Dexter Shoe Co. officials, state representatives and local officials for their cooperation.
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