CAMDEN — Mike Mullins released a letter to the voters and to the farmer’s market outlining his proposal for the former tannery property as residents prepare to vote on the issue Tuesday, June 14.

Links to all of his complete documents are as follows: to Voters_Tannery Cranesport Project.pdf

Residents will vote on town meeting questions 15 and 16 Tuesday, June 14. If approved, that will give the Select Board authority to sell the Apollo Tannery Property to Mullins’ Cranesport LLC for $250,000. This would be on the condition the town would retain ownership until contamination at the site is remediated and it would continue to be able to serve as a home for the Farmer’s Market.

“At the heart of our proposal are the 19 affordably priced workshops made of post-and-beam construction, rented to local entrepreneurs in the creative maker movement,” Mullins wrote in his letter to voters. “The maker movement is about local, home-grown businesses focused on making things, and the services that support this local-centric economy.”

He goes on to say, “This proposal also includes a barn, which serves as an assembly space, available to rent for community events or for programs related to the bustle of entrepreneurial activity at Tannery Park. It’s part of my ongoing effort to create spaces that support what I refer to as the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”

Perspective Drawing of Camden Farmers’ Market at Tannery Park. Courtesy of Mike Mullins

He also addresses the needed clean-up: “The Tannery today is not a park, and it is best described as a brownfield site. The grassy point of the property is one of the areas with surface contamination in excess of Maine DEP’s limits for accidental human exposure.

“With the Cranesport proposal, Cranesport will complete all the work necessary to cap the contaminants per MEDEP guidelines, at no cost to the Farmers Market or to the Town.

“Cranesport has submitted a budget for the project to the Town. That document is called Tannery Park Proforma and is available at our website — Our budget includes $50,000 in environmental soft costs for consultants and legal, and $400,000 in environmental hard costs for remediation, handling of contaminated soil, and installation of a cap where needed. This is a number that I am confident is sufficient to handle our portion of the site outside of the riverwalk.”

The conceptual plan includes an indoor/outdoor farmers market with 5,000 square feet inside the barn available to host up to 20 vendors, rain or shine, throughout the year, he said.

The questions on the ballot and the proposal have met with opposition in the community. Residents have been putting up signs on lawns urging people to vote no on questions 15 and 16. Some residents including the group Friends of Tannery Park argue the property should remain a public space and become a town park.

Mullins concludes the letter with these thoughts:

“MBNA did much to rebuild Camden’s commercial buildings, but since the end of that era we have seen much of the mills revert to housing. I fear that if commercial properties, of which there are few remaining such as the Tannery continue to convert to housing, parks, and open space, we will lose something essential about our Town.

“There’s nothing wrong with being a bedroom community, a tourist destination, and a great place to retire. But Camden at its best is a place for everyone, and one where young, enthusiastic people can chase their dreams. That’s the reason for this proposal and I thank you for giving it due consideration.”