Cleanup of contaminated former junkyard to cost $250,000 or more

By Stephen Betts | Dec 05, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts A Rockland Street property, the site of a former junkyard, will cost at least $250,000 to clean up, according to the city manager.

Rockland — A large residential lot in the center of town that served for nearly 100 years as a commercial junkyard is contaminated and will cost at least $250,000 to clean up.

City Manager Tom Luttrell briefed city councilors Monday night, Dec. 4, on the matter of the Rockland Street property.

He said there are people interested in the property, but the cleanup costs are prohibitive for someone looking to develop it for residential use. The manager said there are grants the city could receive to remove the contamination in the soil. Once that is completed, the city could offer the property for sale, he said.

The city acquired the three contiguous lots in March 2016 for nonpayment of taxes. The lots combined occupy slightly more than a half-acre near Main Street.

The city removed the junk that had accumulated in the junkyard, but testing showed hazardous chemicals in the soil.

The property had been the home of Ronald and Mona Shafter and also had been the Shafter junkyard. The Shafter junkyard business was founded in 1914 by Ronald Shafter’s grandfather, David Shafter. The founder’s son, Samuel Shafter, later took over the business and then, in 1971, Ronald Shafter began operating the business and continued for about 40 years.

The former home is boarded up.

Luttrell said the property could not be used for residences or even as a public park until the contaminated soil is removed.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 07, 2017 00:07

Well, Well Mr. Wiiner: For your information I can probably help you with budgets, you see I was a State Auditor in both Maine and Delaware and have learned to find great skeptical wonders in budgets. You air are not the all knowing, all seeing and all learned so puff that one sir. If you should ask Mr. Luttrell, fine gentleman that he is who, by the way always has a kind word to say at least to my face, is always willing to provide me with the current budget at any time, which is often, that I request it. I do go through it my salty school board member and I find lots of questions but you know what? You nor anyone else gives a hoot, and would listen to me. Years ago I had lots of input to the budget until Mr. Malloy told me to sit down and shut up at one council meeting. We have a following of that type still and if you think that and the hate mail I get will deter me you slipped on one too many blanks in your open space. As for my ass, you as an educator ought to promote a more respectful method of communicating that would show that perhaps you have a civil tongue of sorts at least in writing that you might think more of yourself and not be so bitter. Kinda getting to you isn't it ole boy. Well it ain't going to stop unless I get shut off so try that on for size, Mr. Board. IF things went your way there would be no oversight and no one would really care. I guess I will start looking at the school budget, been a while. Please send me a copy at Or maybe you have my address if you are the one sending me the hate mail. Just make sure you put enough postage on it next time. I don't like paying for garbage. Send me another note and I will supply you with some more surprises. As a matter of fact I graduated from the Hartford Institute of Accounting having complete a four year course in 2 years and I have a Batchelor's Degree from The University of Maine that I acquired at the age of 60 in Business Administration with a Major in Management and a Minor in Finance. Need help with your understanding of those pesky financial statements I am sure Peter will be glad to give you a few lessons. If you were half as smart you would stay away from picking on people in print, there is a pay back.

Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Dec 06, 2017 23:26

Here is a challenge to Mr. Hayward, ever the complainer but never the one to actually roll up his sleeves and do something about what bothers him:

Get a copy of the proposed City budget. Go through it line by line and strike through the spending that you think can be eliminated. Present it to the Council.

I know that budgets can be somewhat difficult to understand. I volunteer to meet with you to help you find the cuts that are so obvious to make but that are hidden by the bureaucrats. I'm sure that City Manager Tom Lutrell will be willing to spend a short amount of time to help you tighten things up before you take it to the Council.

There you have it Hayward. No excuses now. Time to get off your ass and so something instead of talking out of it.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 05, 2017 16:10

Ken: We need another park, right? As for financial albatrosses I would lay odds that there are a ga-zillion. Why? Because we lack adequate legal representation historically for 20-30 years. When the good ole boys left governing Rockland and we added egos and personal vendettas about 30 years ago we lost the core of the Rockland community. We lost the people who cared and we got people who made their own rules, created too many funky useless ordinances and hired some very incompetent people who you only get rid of when they die or retire. Incompetence as a way of staying around because the participants all ban together. Look at the pay scale and benefit package of all the city and county employees and tell me that , in your day, you were as fortunate. Our taxes might be held closed if we were not so generous. And, for that matter, the connection on who is where and how they got there in local governments is an interesting story in itself. I remember some trade offs and council games that were played. How long has it been since you can remember a good hearty, meaningful discussion and budget chopping session took place? Voters choose the huggers, and civility crowd and not the scrappers and doers that would eat these budgets to pieces. There are ways to cut the budgets, just ask those that are losing their homes. Why don't the rich people in Rockland speak up? Because, they can afford high taxes and the vast array of services. Do we need all that? There is pork and baloney in every budget because we always want more than we can afford. Then, reality steps in when we are choking on taxes. We have rebuilt Main Street so many times that the surveyors pounded nails on top of nails, but other street have been neglected and it will be a long time before anything can be done. When new schools are being built we throw tons of stuff away that could be reused. If you question anything, then you like me, will be hated, receive hate mail, and be looked upon as a constant complainer. Well, let me tell you, I enjoy my picking and foraging through the jungle of tall tales and misspent money and will not ever give up until they light that match for the final journey and up in smoke I will go.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Dec 05, 2017 15:42

City is, again, reactive vs. proactive. How many more financial albatrosses are around the city?

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Dec 05, 2017 13:23

There will always be people that are not good stewards of the earth. Perhaps in the beginning ignorance as to the damage being done could be claimed,  but not since the seventies or before. Many people don't care until it is too late. So thiswon't be the last mess taxpayers get to finance.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 05, 2017 11:23

Slipped right by code enforcement all those years. Again, we, the taxpayers, pay for it even with a grant. Grants come with a price. How many times can we go to the trough?

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