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Bangor Y ready for consolidation project

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
An excavator sits on Second Street next to the YWCA on Tuesday, September 7, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/Kevin Bennett)
By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Y is just two weeks away from breaking ground on an expansion of its Second Street location, which will close the Hammond Street facility for good and consolidate all programming into one building.

Y CEO Mike Seile announced in February the $2.6 million project, which was made possible in 2008 after the city’s YMCA and YWCA merged into the Bangor Y.

In 2009 and early 2010, the Y quietly acquired several parcels on Second Street and Sanford Street to allow for expansion of the Second Street location. In July and August, several buildings were demolished, and Seile said a few others would come down later this month.

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Site work, including utility upgrades, is largely complete and construction is set to begin Sept. 23. New construction will include a two-story welcome center and the addition of a full-size basketball court, a new fitness facility and new locker rooms.

The project was designed by WBRC Architects-Engineers, and the construction work will be done by Nickerson & O’Day of Brewer. Seile said the process has been somewhat disruptive, but he also said most users understand the work will make the facilities better.

“This is the community’s Y,” he said. “We’re doing this to meet their needs.”

One of the biggest concerns at the original Hammond Street and Second Street locations has been parking, but that has been remedied. By demolishing adjacent buildings on Second Street, the Y was able to add a large lot that can accommodate more than 100 vehicles.

The expanded Y on Second Street is scheduled to open for good on Monday, Nov. 8.

Members of the Y’s board of directors spent several months deciding how best to consolidate its locations. According to Seile, the difference between renovating the Hammond Street facility versus renovating the Second Street location, which houses the Y’s pool, was about $2 million.

The Hammond Street building will be vacated by mid-November and then will be put up for sale. The proceeds will go back into the project, which is being paid for through a seven-year no-interest loan, Seile said.

“We’ve had some silent inquiries into that location, but we’re really looking for a socially redeeming use,” he said. “It’s a building that has a lot of value.”

The YMCA dates back 146 years in Bangor and the YWCA has had a presence in the city for 96 years. The Y serves approximately 4,500 members in the Bangor area and relies on public support for about one-quarter of its total revenue.

The Y hasn’t changed its rates since 2006, and Seile hopes that continues in the coming years. He also said the Y’s endowment fund, which stands at $1.8 million, will not be touched for the consolidation project.

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