May 24, 2018
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Demolish or rehab?: Bangor council picks firm for study of old police station

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Almost 5½ years after the last shift took place at the Bangor Police Department’s former home on Court Street, the Bangor City Council has concluded it has to decide what to do with the abandoned property.

The 72-year-old building has been unused since Bangor’s police force moved into its $8 million Summer Street station, although it doesn’t appear that way to the casual observer.

“Right now, we lease most of that property to the [Penobscot] County for parking with the Sheriff’s Department, the court, County Commissioners office, jail and dispatch center,” said City Councilor Nelson Durgin, who chairs the council’s finance committee. “I think there are 70 spots there now and they’re all taken up, especially with the post office right there now too.”

During a Monday afternoon meeting, the finance committee unanimously approved the selection of Sargent Corp. to do a development study of the old police station for the city.

“They’ll do a study, but not do anything to the building,” Durgin said. “The study will come back to the full council and the alternatives will be to demolish the building and fix up the grounds, or rehab the building in some way.”

There are several complications and problems with both alternatives.

“The problem with that building, structurally, is it’s of an age where it has all kinds of hazardous materials in it and you don’t just paint over that stuff or blow it up,” Durgin said. “Also, much of it rests on fill and is also on a ledge that goes underneath Court Street, and that will actually tear up the street if we do anything at all to repair the building.”

The four-level Court Street station once housed municipal court, the department’s motor pool, Bangor’s public works department, and even a classroom for the school department. But as the building deteriorated over the years, parts of it were condemned and restricted from usage.

Three local contractors with demolition experience submitted their qualifications to conduct the study, but Sargent won out due to its available manpower resources and qualifications.

“The engineering department recommended they do this study, given the experience Sargent Corporation has with this type of work,” Durgin said.

The studies will go further than just a recommendation to either demolish or rehabilitate the structure.

“If it’s to rehab, they’re going to have to give us details on cost, materials and other things,” Durgin said. “Then they’ll also determine what the value of the property was and how it could be used.”

Once Sargent has completed the study, a request for proposal, or RFP, will be issued by the city for the actual demolition or renovation of the building.

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