Neighbors organize to protest tannery sale to ambulance service

By Stephanie Grinnell | Aug 12, 2014
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell The former Apollo Tannery site at 116 Washington St. may be purchased by North East Mobile Health Services to serve as a base of operations for emergency and medical transport services.

Camden — Residents of the Millville area of Camden are concerned about the idea of the local ambulance service purchasing the former Apollo Tannery site on Washington Street.

According to Tom Resek, who lives on Rawson Avenue, the largest concern is safety of children as well as the disruption to quality of life in the relatively quiet neighborhood just outside downtown. He said there was no notice given to neighbors about the possibility of the ambulance service moving into the area and he found out about the announcement through local media.

"It's basically trying to say to people 'this has been done,'" Resek said Aug. 12. "They [Select Board] need to slow down a little and give the neighborhood one last chance to put something together."

He said those opposed to the idea of North East Mobile Health Services relocating to the property plan to address selectmen as well as the Conservation Commission this week during regular meetings as well as writing letters to local papers.

"This is an opportunity to do something positive rather than fill a space," Resek said.

Suggestions from neighbors have focused on having a small commercial enterprise and leaving most of the nearly 4-acre parcel as green space, he said. Other options could include a park filled with wildflowers, a new home for the farmer's market, a summer festival site, a craft school, an environmental learning center or a sculpture park, he said.

"If [the town] is looking for money, it should invest in the neighborhood and tax values will rise," Resek said. "Nobody is going to say 'I'm going to move to Millville to be close to that ambulance service.' ... People who live here are trying to make this a great place."

Plans made public by the town indicate a driveway to the ambulance facility on Rawson Avenue as well as Washington Street.

"If there's a driveway on Rawson where there's an ambulance coming out, we're not going to want to live here," Resek said.

He said the neighbors are working to contact a lawyer to explore legal options as well as planning a community meeting.

"We're not going to sit on our hands and say this is fine," Resek said.

While the group is only loosely organized as this point — with only a few days under its belt — a number of people already have expressed an interest in becoming involved by phone and email, he said. Those with questions or who are interested in joining the community group may contact Resek by calling 612-599-8811.

Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at

Comments (5)
Posted by: Karen A Grove | Aug 15, 2014 11:45

I too think this is a great fit for this site.  It has sat empty far too long.  I believe the company will keep their promise to not to operate their siriens as they leave the facility insuring that they neighbors will not have their peace and quiet disrupted at all hours of the day or night.  This company has kept all its promises to date and there is no reason to believe they would do otherwise now.


As to "a park filled with wildflowers, a new home for the farmer's market, a summer festival site, a craft school, an environmental learning center or a sculpture park" this is not what the people of the town of Camden voted for when stating their intent for use of this property.  Please read the warrent article.  Camden already has an abundance of park and conservasion land.  We don't need more.


As to the egress onto Rawson Avenue, I would ask Northeast Moble Health Services  to reconsider this as an egress.  Rawson Avenue is a very narrow street, densely populated with kids, dogs, walkers, bikers, and multiple driveways.  I travel this road daily, and very slowly, so I know the concerns of the residents of this road.  A fast moving service vehicle is an accident waiting to happen.  Perhaps using Washington Street as the only exit route and Rawson can be used for a slower, less hasty, return entrance if need be. 

Lets keepp talking.  I'm sure we can work this out to everyone's benifit.  

Posted by: Ben Ellison | Aug 14, 2014 23:14

Think positive!  If you live about four blocks from the old tannery, as I do, an ambulance is probably going to get to your house pretty quick.


I'm glad about this deal. At least the town is getting a little of what was generally hoped for, some funds to cover part of the cleanup costs and some decent jobs. There was plenty of time for other offers to be considered.


I also note that the ambulance service says they chose the spot in part because of the adjoing river walk. That's a big win for the walk and all the good people who made it happen.

Posted by: glen r thompson | Aug 14, 2014 14:42

I have an idea: why don't the good people of Camden erect a sign.  It should read "Camden, Maine - Please Pass Through".  I would certainly comply.

Posted by: Peter Rollins | Aug 12, 2014 19:03

I have property on Washington Street. I think this is fine. Its far greener and more community oriented than a run down tannery.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 12, 2014 14:56

Have seen the people of Camden working together very well to solve situations and am sure they will this one. Thankful to have had the overwhelming support of everyone in my neighborhood when having an aftercare facility for people getting out of prison. Spoke to each and every neighbor, one on one, before going ahead with any plans; allaying any fears or concerns. It paid off and during the fifteen years of existence there was never any animosity. Guess those fine folks had never heard of NIMBY and am glad.   Open collaboration does wonders. :)

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