State may sell land near Dorothea Dix center for Bangor Hydro substation

Posted March 30, 2012, at 9:49 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Thanks to an amendment added to a Senate bill approved by committee and presented in a public hearing Friday, two longtime Bangor institutions soon may be able to expand their capabilities.

The amendment added by Sen. Nichi Farnham, R-Bangor, to LD 1904 would allow the state to negotiate the sale of a 200-by-400-foot piece of state-owned property near the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center to Bangor Hydro-Electric Co.

“This only authorizes the Maine’s Bureau of General Services to negotiate the sale if it’s in the best interests of the state with details to be worked out by the state’s commissioner of administrative and financial services,” said Farnham.

Bangor Hydro wants to build a new substation there to better accommodate the expected power needs of Eastern Maine Medical Center, which is looking to expand and modernize its operating room, neonatal intensive care unit and private room facilities.

“We’re looking at inpatient modernization of our current space and additional space in a new, seven-story building, but nothing is finalized yet,” said EMMC spokeswoman Jill MacDonald.

Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon said the substation design is still in the works.

“Obviously it’s a big project for us and represents a significant expansion for EMMC,” said Bangor Hydro spokeswoman Susan Faloon. “It would be a several million dollar project and is still in the planning stages.”

The bill is expected to be taken up and voted on by the Maine Senate within the week, said Farnham. After that, it will go to the Maine House of Representatives.

Farnham was pleased she was able to add the amendment, which received solid support from committee members.

“Obviously it’s a way to help interests in Bangor and make sure the infrastructure is in place for expansion by any entity in that area of the city,” she said. “The current power infrastructure in that area is about 60 years old.”

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