Peavey trespasses in Biddeford
I would like to thank The Bollard for publishing Elizabeth Peavey’s wonderful account of her day in Biddeford-Saco [Downtown, Maine; Spring 2008]. I commend her for a detailed, honest and, ultimately, admiring look at a place that is too often dismissed by its neighbors as a depressed old mill community. I myself have lived in the Twin Cities for the past six years and have witnessed a tremendous amount of positive change in what, by Maine standards, is a very short period of time.
That said, I do have to take issue with Ms. Peavey’s stated preference for “the beautiful ruin of derelict buildings” over their redevelopment, particularly in light of her discussion of what she terms Saco’s “green revolution.” No matter how LEED-certified or Energy-Starred a new building, reusing an existing building is invariably many times more efficient than is new construction. I see the 370,000-square-foot pile of timber and bricks that is North Dam Mill not as a beautiful ruin, but rather as a gift from the past, a wondrous structure that could never possibly be built today, and can be fairly inexpensively retrofitted for a variety of modern uses.
Finally, if Ms. Peavey, her husband, or readers of The Bollard would like an authorized tour of North Dam Mill (including the off-limits areas), I would be happy to accommodate them.
p.s.: To resolve her dispute with her husband, the scale at the mill is 10-15 pounds off.
— David Versel, Saco
The writer is Director of Development and Marketing for North Dam Mill.