June 25, 2018
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Chamber urges Bangor City Council to study arena

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau are turning up the heat on city leaders over a decision this week to postpone an updated marketing study for a new arena.

Chamber and CVB officials held a press conference on Friday to strongly encourage the city to move forward with a market study immediately.

“We were disappointed in [councilors’] decision Wednesday,” John Diamond, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, said in the Chamber’s parking lot, with the aging Bangor auditorium looming in the background. “It’s important to keep momentum going behind the Bangor brand and we see the arena being essential to that momentum.”

James Gerety, chair of the CVB’s board, said countless members have called or e-mailed in the past two days since councilors decided to hold off on a new study.

“The consensus is clear that this should move forward now,” Gerety said.

Three of nine city councilors attended the impromptu press conference and offered their own opinions of the ongoing discussion.

Councilor David Nealley asked Diamond, hypothetically, to have each one of the 800 members of the Chamber of Commerce put up $100? That would pay for a new study, Nealley said.

Councilor Hal Wheeler said he thought the reaction by the Chamber and the CVB was a little extreme.

“I don’t know what harm a delay of six months — and it could be less — would do,” he said.

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