May 24, 2018
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Demolition of Bass Park barn under way

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Demolition has begun on a set of aging barns at Bass Park, paving the way for construction of a new $1.8 million facility later this year.

In January, the city entered into an agreement with Bangor Historic Track at Bass Park to fund 50 percent of a proposed horse barn. The city’s portion is expected to be paid by revenue generated from the downtown tax increment financing district. The other half will be paid for by Bangor Historic Track, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Inc., which also owns and operates Hollywood Slots Hotel & Raceway.

By all accounts, though, Penn National will end up funding much more than 50 percent because a majority of the downtown TIF revenue has been and will continue to be generated by Hollywood Slots.

“The first step was to demolish these barns, to make room for the new one and some additional parking,” Bass Park Director Mike Dyer said. “Between now and next spring, we’ll have a new barn.”

Initial discussions about barn replacement called for construction of two barns. However, the city agreed to start with one and see whether a need existed for another. It’s possible the city might revisit funding for a second barn sometime down the road.

Penn National has spent several hundred thousand dollars to build a new paddock and office building, and has made much-needed repairs to the track’s surface, which took a beating last spring.

The new paddock has more modern amenities, a more convenient location closer to the track, and increased capacity with 21,000 square feet and 96 horse stalls.

City and Bass Park officials also have had ongoing discussion about use of the track’s infield for nonracing events, including demolition derbies and overflow parking for the American Folk Festival.

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