City awards contract for garage repairs

Posted June 23, 2009, at 9:16 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The city has awarded a nearly $700,000 contract to a Portland-based company for a series of needed repairs to the parking garage at Pickering Square.

After some debate over two similar bids on the project, city councilors voted 5-3 Monday to turn the work over to Hascall & Hall, which submitted the lowest bid.

Some councilors felt the better move would have been awarding the contract to another firm. Contracting Specialists Inc., also of Portland, had submitted a bid that was $39,000 higher, but that firm had worked with the city on previous repairs to the garage and by all accounts had done good work.

“We know them; they are a known quantity,” said Councilor Pat Blanchette. “In this case, it seems like continuity is important.”

Others maintained that any chance to save money is a good one.

City finance director Debbie Cyr said Monday that both firms were well-qualified and well-recommended and, all things being equal, the city usually chooses the lowest bidder.

At 675 spaces, Pickering Square is the largest parking facility in the city of Bangor. It was built about 20 years ago but was not maintained regularly, city officials have said in the past. A few years ago, an analysis of the garage was conducted that outlined a recommended maintenance schedule. The $690,502 bid by Hascall & Hall will cover Phases III, IV and V of those recommendations.

Phase III will begin in July and finish in the fall. The remaining phases will be carried out over a long period of time, according to Parke Clemons of Republic Parking, a private firm that manages the city’s parking lots.

“There is always some inconvenience when repairs are done, but we try to only close down a section at a time,” he said. “Now that Eastern Maine Medical Center has moved out, we have more open spaces, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”

The parking garage is constructed with precast concrete beams that are connected with sheets of steel and sealant. Clemons said the sealant has worn away over the years, causing settling and cracking.

The repairs come at the same time the city is marketing the Pickering Square garage through a new Web site, http://thebangorgarage.com. The city also has begun replacement of an 80-space parking lot at the corner of Hammond Street and Columbia Street downtown.

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