BANGOR, Maine — The stainless steel sculpture that has graced the center of West Market Square for 37 years soon move.
Pending City Council approval, “Continuity of Community” — the 10-foot-wide, 6-foot-tall elliptical sculpture created by artist Charles Battle Fitz-Gerald — will be moved to the end of the Bangor Waterfront bulkhead.
The waterfront bulkhead is the steel wall upon which the walkways, benches and fencing are attached near the Sea Dog restaurant and public docks. It runs downriver toward Railroad Street.
The move, which was unanimously approved by both the Historic Preservation Commission and Commission on Cultural Development, was approved 3-1 by the city’s business and economic development committee during Wednesday evening’s meeting. Councilor Nelson Durgin cast the lone dissenting vote with Councilors Cary Weston, Ben Sprague and Geoffrey Gratwick voting in favor.
The Downtown Bangor Partnership is strongly in favor of the relocation.
According to Shirar Patterson, Bangor’s business and economic development officer, the move will serve three main goals: removing physical barriers from West Market Square that limit potential event uses; allowing better maintenance and snow removal in the square; and providing a better location for the sculpture and the fountain to represent Bangor’s relationship to other communities, such as Brewer on the opposite side of the Penobscot River.
“This marks the first phase of West Market Square enhancements,” said Bangor City Engineer Art Morgan, who explained that the first phase involves the removal and relocation of the sculpture and fountain and filling in the fountain area with grass or removable concrete pavers.
The city has budgeted $25,000, allocated from downtown TIF funds, for the first phase of renovations. Removal may start later this month and relocation could be completed as early as June or July.
“It’s part of a larger project we’re doing to have a paved, lit walking trail along the waterfront,” said Morgan. “It’s in the permitting stages right now and we hope to be able to advertise it for bid from May to June.”
Morgan said the goal is to start waterfront pathway construction this summer and have it completed before the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront in late August.
“Continuity of Community” was completed by Fitz-Gerald, a Castine resident, in 1969 and donated to the city shortly after.
A Mobius strip is a one-sided surface formed from a rectangular strip by rotating one end 180 degrees and attaching it to the other end.
Architect Sam Shadley and Patterson said the concept is for “Continuity of Community” to become a centerpiece of a “sister city monument” that provides a location for recognition of the city’s significant relationships and events. The idea is for several, smaller monuments to be represented in a circle of boulders around the Mobius strip. Plaques would be added to these boulders as relationships — such as Bangor’s sister city relationship with Harbin, China — and events are identified.
After committee members asked him for any recommendations, University of Maine Museum of Art Director George Kinghorn, who is also Downtown Bangor Partnership Board vice president, suggested placing the “Continuity of Community” structure on a higher base, at least 4 feet tall, to enhance its visibility.