MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- The Finance Authority of Maine's decision to fund a major project that could bring dozens of jobs back to Millinocket drew excitement from town residents on Friday.
On Thursday FAME voted to guarantee a $25 million loan for the Thermogen project, which is Cate Street Capital's plan to build a new plant on the site of the closed Millinocket paper mill. Cate Street plans to use Thermogen to make torrefied wood, which are energy-rich pellets that officials say could be used by many company's looking to get off of coal.
Cate Street says Thermogen could employ up to 36 people once it's built in Millinocket and even more jobs could be created in the long term. News of the loan sat well with many people in Millinocket on Friday who said having those jobs could do wonders for the town.
"That's the only way we're going to be able to keep young people here...if we create jobs for them," said Paul Renaud, who owns a restaurant in town.
"It's a positive all around," said Corinne Reece, who moved to Millinocket with her husband six years ago, "because if you bring more people and more jobs to Millinocket..more people are spending money...than that helps the grocery..it helps the restaurants...it helps everybody."
The loan for Thermogen was narrowly approved by the Finance Authority of Maine. On Thursday some of its directors did express concern about Cate Street's ability to pay back the money or the success of torrefied wood on the market.
Cate Street has to wait 30 days for appeals before it can close on the loan. The company is hoping to have Thermogen built and running by late next 2014.