If you plan on watching the razing of the giant stack at the former Verso Paper mill in Bucksport on Tuesday, there are a few things you’ll need to know.
The first: If you plan to watch it in person, come to the Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect across the Penobscot River from the mill at 6 a.m. It’s off Route 174 just north of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. Admission is free and the area near the B Battery gun offers the best view, said Dean Martin, executive director of Friends of Fort Knox, a volunteer organization that manages the site for the state.
You can also watch a stream of the smoke stack coming down on the BDN’s website Tuesday morning.
The razing of the main smoke stack will put a period on the last sentence of Bucksport’s 90-year history of papermaking as the town works to recover from the mill’s closure, and the loss of 570 mill jobs, in 2014. Among other developments at the mill site, construction of a $180 million Atlantic salmon farm is expected to start on the site this spring.
The stack will come down at some time between 6 and 10 a.m., according to Martin and Susan Lessard, Bucksport’s town manager. Mill site owner American Iron and Metal has not given the town a more precise time for when the fuse will be lit, and the smoke stack can be expected to implode and topple.
To keep people from getting too close, Bucksport police will close Main Street from 7 to 8 a.m. between Third and Main streets, and a spot near the old mill entrance, where Main Street becomes Route 15. Police will also keep spectators off the Bucksport Waterfront Walkway, Sgt. Dan Winchester said.
They fear spectators too close might get hit by debris, he said.
“These people have done this before,” Winchester said. “I have no question it will fall where they want it to fall, but there’s no telling what’s going to kick up in the debris.”
About 300 people are expected at Fort Knox on Tuesday.
The last time a stack came down on the mill site in late August, it was imploded and collapsed in on itself until about halfway down, when it toppled, Martin said.
Whatever happens will happen fast, Lessard said.
“Once the fuse is lit, it is not going to take an hour for it to fall over,” Lessard said, “but I really don’t know what to expect. I have never watched one go down and fall over. I have to put my faith in the construction company that has done this many times that it will drop where it is supposed to.”
Martin advised spectators to bring ponchos, lawn chairs, umbrellas or blankets, although Tuesday’s weather forecast calls for only a mix of sun and clouds, with temperatures from 44 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit.
Martin will open the fort’s main gate and bathrooms at 6 a.m. Parking will be plentiful, as Martin will open the fort grounds to cars, not just the fort’s parking lot, he said.
“The Friends appreciate the support we get from our community, and it has been five years since the old mill closed. We have workers here who used to be mill workers,” he said. “From the Friends of Fort Knox perspective, the least we can do is show support for the people who supported us all that time.”