If you take a drive into Millinocket and turn left onto Penobscot Avenue, the green siding and empty storefront of the Miller’s building (230 Penobscot) look the same as they have since Our Katahdin purchased the building in 2016. What the same, familiar exterior hides is all of the work happening on the inside. And believe us, we’re eager to change the outside too!
This past week 100 students and 4 teacher and parent chaperones volunteered over 500 hours at 230 Penobscot. They’re all from Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine. This is the second year that Juniors from Casco Bay are taking their Junior Journey to the Katahdin Region. Each cohort of 25 students spends a day doing service projects, learning about community, conducting scientific study, adventuring and exploring the woods. The volunteers are doing essential demolition work on the first floor by removing the plaster and lath walls to prepare for future insulation and wiring work.
Follow along on our Facebook page for pictures and progress updates!
It’s been a lot of work to get to this point. In 2018, we began working with TRC Solutions and Safe Environmental Solutions to clean up the interior using funding from the Environmental Protection Agency through their Brownfield Clean-Up program. The SES team removed close to 2,000 soggy boxes filled with hangers from the basement. They removed asbestos from pipes, and removed four layers of stinky carpet and tile flooring to get rid of mold and mastic containing asbestos. They took apart walls to remove and remediate mold and encapsulated any previously contaminated areas. They did a fantastic job and we are so thankful.
Paul Carney has been removing interior walls, fixtures and preparing the space for volunteers. He has done tremendous, back-breaking work cleaning-up and maintaining 230 since we bought the building in 2016.
In 2017, the roof and roof drains were leaking badly. There were active sewer leaks in the basement. The first order of business was stopping the water coming in, so we installed a new rubber roof on each of the four roofs. Paul, Ray Streams and Dave DeWitt did countless hours of work removing old merchandise, fixtures and clothing racks, and even rotten floor boards. They patched sewer drains and double checked sump pumps. All of this work was preparation for beginning the Brownfield Clean-up process.
We’ve been working with Patric Santerre, an architect at Arcadia Designs and Millinocket Native, to design the renovations and exterior look. We have a phased approach to renovating the building to try to get people in the building as quickly as possible and build a useful, beautiful space. Stay tuned this spring for some major improvements!