Bangor considers waterfront vendors

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 12, 2010, at 10:45 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City councilors will discuss a proposal next week that would make it easier for mobile food vendors to operate seasonally on the Bangor Waterfront.

A local vendor who wants to operate a hot dog stand recently approached the city with a request to park it on the waterfront during the warmer months. Staff brought the idea to the City Council, which used the request to explore more general changes to municipal policy regarding waterfront vendors.

Since then, Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette has drafted a proposal for handling waterfront vendors and will bring it before the council’s business and economic development committee on Wednesday.

“As the waterfront continues to evolve and develop, we want to balance providing more amenities for visitors with maintaining the appearance of the waterfront,” Willette said.

Willette and other city staff recommended an area near the corner of Railroad and Front streets that could accommodate four vendors.

The area has easy access to water and electricity and allows for good visibility without cluttering the waterfront park. Space would be sold for a flat fee of $1,500 for the season (May 24 through Oct. 3) or $1,000 for a shortened season (June 28 through Sept. 6). Spots would be sold first come, first served, and vendors would have to adhere to a set of guidelines spelled out in the application.

One of the biggest stipulations is that the vendors would not be allowed to operate during a specific event, such as the American Folk Festival, which brings in its own concession vendors.

Some permanent businesses in the area have expressed concern in the past that allowing outside vendors would create unfair competition while others have adopted a “the more the merrier” attitude, according to Economic Development Director Rod McKay.

“We felt like this was something that could get out of hand pretty fast, so this is a good way to try it out,” he said. “As the waterfront grows and develops, we want to be ahead of the curve.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/02/12/news/bangor/bangor-considers-waterfront-vendors/ printed on July 25, 2014