BANGOR, Maine — The silvery, elliptical sculpture that has graced the center of West Market Square for almost 40 years may soon have a new home on the Bangor Waterfront.
The aluminum, Moebius strip sculpture, titled “Continuity of Community,” was created by artist and longtime Castine resident Charles Battle Fitz-Gerald in 1969 and donated to the city.
“Initially it was on the lawn outside City Hall until they could find a more suitable place, and they were redoing Westmarket Square as part of urban renewal between and 1971 and 1975,” said Bangor business and economic development officer Shirar Patterson. “The Downtown Bangor Partnership has been advocating for quite some time to move the sculpture to a more appropriate location to highlight its best use.”
A Moebius strip is a one-sided surface formed from a rectangular strip by rotating one end 180 degrees and attaching it to the other end.
Discussions have been going on for at least six years about moving the 10-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall sculpture to open up West Market Square’s space for festivals, art shows, and concerts.
“For the size of it, it is a bit disproportionate,” Patterson said. “We’re looking at the Waterfront location with Photoshop renderings and it looks great against the water. We really think this new location will really make it shine for more people.”
A proposal calls for the sculpture to be the centerpiece of a ring of boulders about 14 feet in diameter.
Jeremy Martin, Bangor’s interim code enforcement officer, confirmed that the Bangor Historic Preservation Society gave the Downtown Bangor Partnership — formerly Bangor Center Corp. — and the city’s Commission on Cultural Development unanimous initial approval to move the sculpture, pending a complete plan including its eventual permanent location.
“Because it’s part of West Market Square and West Market Square is a historic location, the commission has to approve a move,” Martin said.
The move would coincide with a planned renovation and remodeling of West Market Square.
“We’re trying to take a phased approach to renovating with plans from consultants,” Patterson said. “The city has been looking at two proposed plans that haven’t came to fruition because of costs of implementation, but we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to move forward this fall in terms of getting all the planning done, and then perhaps start implementing it in late spring.”
Patterson said Bangor has already applied for $400,000 in Community for Maine’s Future grant funds from the state for renovations, downtown signage, and sidewalk improvements. The renovation plan could dovetail nicely with Bangor’s ongoing facade improvement program in which Bangor business owners can apply for up to $15,000 in matching funds for restoring or renovating storefronts or replacing deteriorating signage or awnings.
“Bangor’s well positioned to get some funding from that state grant program and that complements the Community Development Block Grant facade funding nicely,” Patterson said.