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4/11/2014 6:00:00 PM
Shellfish Processing Plant Plans Postponed

The former Hockomock Bottling Company building on Route 32 in Bremen was demolished last fall. (Nancy Wilson photo, LCN file)
The former Hockomock Bottling Company building on Route 32 in Bremen was demolished last fall. (Nancy Wilson photo, LCN file)
By Dominik Lobkowicz

The construction of a shellfish processing plant originally planned to be built in Bremen this year is being put off, according to John "Boe" Marsh, owner of Community Shellfish LLC.

The company's new plant is planned for the site formerly occupied by the Hockomock Bottling Company on Route 32. Marsh had the old building torn down last fall, originally planning to have the new plant built in the same location early this year.

Marsh said he has several reasons for delaying the construction.

"I'm worried about the fisheries for one," Marsh said. "This was a really hard winter, there was no shrimp, the shrimp season was taken away and people are very worried about the clams."

Marsh is also concerned about the conditions of Route 32, which has already affected his operations this season.

One of the food service companies that used to pick up at Community Shellfish's space on Cora Cressey Road refused to drive down the lumpy and bumpy stretch of Route 32 in Bremen this winter, and Marsh has instead had to send someone to Waldoboro to meet the trucks.

"My concern is being that, one, if the roads are so bad and winter access is denied us, that's one issue," Marsh said. "My other issue is, when they get around to fixing them, what is the condition of transportation going to be around us?"

Marsh also wants to see what electricity rate changes may be coming out from Central Maine Power.

"We're just going to weigh out economic conditions for the time being before we commit a huge amount of capital into the building," Marsh said.

In the meantime, Marsh plans to do some work at the site of the planned plant to keep his building permit active, such as grading and stabilizing the site in the coming weeks.

"We're going to keep the site active, and we're going to do a little bit of work on the plot this summer. That will give us a year from the time we last worked on the property," he said.

Despite his trepidation, Marsh's evaluation of Community Shellfish remained positive. "Business is growing, business is fantastic," he said.

The company is employing 18 people and projected to do over $1 million in sales this year, Marsh said. The work will just continue to be done in the space the company rents from the Bremen Lobster Pound Co-op for now, he said.

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