Bangor Council OKs business’s expansion, designates new ‘drug-free’ parks

Posted Dec. 26, 2012, at 9:59 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Hermon-based business is likely to spread across the town line into Bangor.

During a rapid-fire, 20-minute meeting Wednesday night, the City Council authorized a lease agreement between the city and Ntension Corp., a company that manufactures tension fabric structures used at exhibitions and trade shows.

The 6-month lease, at $2,250 per month, of a 9,000-square-foot facility at 110 Hildreth St. in Bangor, will give Ntension the space it needs to assemble and examine its structures before sending them off to customers, according to company president Scott Biehn.

Biehn said Wednesday afternoon that Ntension is “in full production mode right now,” attempting to fill orders for companies attending trade shows across the country.

“We just needed extra space, not for manufacturing, but setup,” Biehn said, adding that the warehouse space in Bangor was well suited for that. He said the expansion might also help the company continue growing.

“Our company is expanding dramatically,” he said, adding that the manufacturing jobs his company creates “are the kinds of jobs we need here in Maine.”

Also at the meeting, the City Council voted 8-0 in favor of an ordinance change that adds a pair of parks on Bangor Housing Authority property be designated drug-free safe zones. Councilor James Gallant was not at the meeting.

The drug-free designation means that drug crimes committed in Griffin Park or Birch Circle can be met with stiffer penalties.

In 2005, the 122nd Maine Legislature passed “An Act to Protect Children Using Maine’s Athletic Fields and Parks from Drug Dealers.” Existing law already allowed for harsher punishments for drug crimes committed near schools or school buses, but this law added athletic fields, parks, playgrounds and recreational areas used by children to the list of protected areas.

Councilor Ben Sprague said, as he has in past committee meetings, that he believes “the whole city should be a drug-free safe zone” in a perfect world. While he supported the motion, he compared the establishment of a drug-free zone to creating a “no-peeing zone” in a public pool.

Councilors said this was a step in the right direction in dealing with drug problems in the city.

Councilor Patricia Blanchette pointed out that it would still be up to residents and parents to report suspicious activities and “put [their] eyes and common sense to work” to stem drug crime in the city because police can’t be on every street corner.

The Council also recognized Community Connector for a record-setting year. The buses provided more than 1 million rides in fiscal year 2012. It has more than doubled its ridership since 2002.

“It’s a huge effort by everybody, especially the bus drivers who go out there every day,” Joe McNeil, bus superintendent, said after receiving the recognition from the council.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the council voted to:

• Appropriate up to $32,000 from the Bangor Police Department’s state drug asset forfeiture, which will allow the Criminal Investigation Division to purchase three used cars for the fleet. Interim police Chief Peter Arno evaluated the CID fleet and determined that one car could be eliminated and that three high-mileage vehicles should be replaced.

• Appoint Mark Woodward as trustee of the Hersey Fund for a six-year term, Chas Bruns as a member of the Commission on Cultural Development for a three-year term, and Elisabeth Young as an associate member of the Commission on Cultural Development for a two-year term.

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