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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
An update on north country news that I have done on occasion. After a couple of years of delay the large greenhouse project in Berlin is finally getting built. It is in the "out of sight out of mind" section of far NE Berlin on the east side of the river near the former Nansen cross country ski area (long ago relocated). If they pull it off, another nice bunch of full time jobs with benefits that the area can use. The unemployment rate in the area may be low currently, but year-round jobs with benefits are still lacking. Having more full time folks with benefits keeps some revenue int he local health care facilities which support the outdoors public as well as locals. The seasonal tourist businesses are always advertising but few offer any benefits beyond a weekly paycheck and maybe a bonus at the end of season. The greenhouse will use a natural gas generator to generate power and heat for the operation plus CO2 to enhance the plant growth. Do note that this project is separate from the biomass plant in Berlin at the former pulp mill. The owners of the biomass plant have been actively looking for a partner to build a greenhouse on the pulpmill site with the promise of free waste heat from the power plant but nothing has come of it to date.

Pure speculation on my part is they will make a run at lettuce and tomatoes (despite the competition from Back Yard Farms, another huge indoor tomato operation in Madison Maine) but what has happened in other states is these projects could be shifted to cannabis production as it become legal. The developer insisted early on that that is not the intent, and their means of funding may prevent them from doing so.

Its been pretty quiet in Groveton NH area, despite a lot of splashy headlines pre covid. Quasar Wave, the firm that claims they broke the puzzle of renewable hydrogen (without breaking a few thermodynamic laws) seems to have gone quiet and the firm making heavy fuel oll out of plastic waste also seems to have gone quiet.

There is lots of entrepreneurial activity on RT 110 around the entrance to Jericho Lake State Park ATV area. A mix of investors have convinced the city of Berlin to acquire the Rt 110 highway corridor from the state of NH to make it ATV friendly and is putting in place a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district in the area to fund upgrades to infrastructure (water and sewer) to this area. A mix of mostly local and some out of state investors are making various upgrades to make their properties more attractive for development but in the short term, its just a lot of "this lot available for development signs" The big ATV festivals were not held due to Covid for two years but attempts are being made to resurrect some events this summer despite some background issues on who owns the rights to hold them. Jericho Lake State Park did get some Covid money to add facilities (along with Mollidgewock Campground on the Androscoggin).

Gorham Shelburne and Randolph are all relatively quiet. There is lot of land protection in Shelburne and Gorham and a lot of mountain bike development in Gorham with some Ski Glades. A private group is building a brew pub and mountain bike center on Rt 16 just south of the town common. It will be linked into the big expansion of the mountain bike network on the north slope of Pine Mountain (recently the underlying land was protected). Unfortunately it is on the wrong side of the river for the increasingly popularCross NH trail, although it is in line for the bypass that more a few Cross NH trail folks are taking to avoid the section that is shared with ATVs. Randolph as ever is expanding the town forest with a big addition along the Moose River last year. There is a new undoubtedly high end subdivision on the Randolph Gorham line that will should satisfy folks need to buy into Randolph.
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