Rep. Poliquin’s Old Town Jobs Bill Moves Forward in the Senate
WASHINGTON – This morning, Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s (ME-02) bill to help create jobs and economic development in Old Town moved forward in the U.S. Senate. Congressman Poliquin’s bill was included in a larger package of bills, the Federal Land Management Act of 2017, which passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry unanimously, a major step toward becoming law.
“After coordinating and working closely with town leaders in developing this legislation and pushing it through the House with bipartisan support earlier this year, I’m extremely pleased it is moving closer to becoming law,” said Congressman Poliquin. “This is a simple and commonsense fix that will allow for new jobs and important economic growth for Old Town and the surrounding communities, and I’ll continue to push until it gets across the finish line.”
Said Ron Harriman, Economic Development Director for the City of Old Town, “We are very pleased with the Congressman's work to remove archaic deed restrictions to allow for new industry and job creation in the City of Old Town. Congressman Poliquin and his staff have made this issue a high priority and have kept in very close contact with the City throughout the process. We are hopeful this bill to promote economic development will have strong support.”
The Congressman’s bill, called the Removing Outdated Restrictions to Allow for Job Growth Act, will revise an outdated law in Old Town by removing an obsolete deed restriction on a parcel of land next to the Old Town Airport. It will allow the airport to move forward with the project of developing the land to attract and welcome new interested businesses and jobs to the area.
Congressman Poliquin has worked closely with town officials from Old Town, local business leaders and officials from the Old Town Municipal Airport in developing this legislation in February 2017 to remove outdated restrictions on land so businesses can grow there and bring new jobs to the community.
Recently, town officials and officials from the airport have expressed interest in developing portions of the land adjacent to the airport for commercial use to attract businesses. In fact, the town has invested more than $1 million in infrastructure improvements to help bring job creators to the site. Multiple businesses have expressed interest in using the site, each bringing potential new jobs to the area. However, town officials recently discovered that antiquated restrictions exist that would prevent the site from being used for these businesses.
In 1937, Congress passed the Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act, a law that authorized the federal government to acquire damaged lands for the purpose of rehabilitating the space for various programs, mostly related to farming. Some of the land purchased was in Old Town. In the early 1980’s, this land in Old Town was sold to be used as part of the Old Town Airport with the stipulation that it only be used strictly for that purpose, due to requirements in law under the Farm Tenant Act.
The deed restrictions have long outlived their purpose. Congressman Poliquin’s bill would remove the deed restriction on the land completely so that the town and airport can move forward with the project of developing the land to attract and welcome new businesses and jobs to the area.