Demolition planning in the works for pair of Court Street buildings

City officials plan on demolition projects for two Court Street locations including the defunct police station and 150 Court St. (pictured) that was gutted this past winter after a fire started in the chimney.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
City officials plan on demolition projects for two Court Street locations including the defunct police station and 150 Court St. (pictured) that was gutted this past winter after a fire started in the chimney.
Posted Aug. 03, 2013, at 1:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City officials are planning a pair of demolitions on Court Street, likely for later this year.

The larger of the two projects will be the destruction of the city’s defunct police station, which was shuttered in 2006 and has deteriorated rapidly since. The 72-year-old building has been empty since Bangor’s police force moved into its $8 million Summer Street station, but the county has used the street and area around the station for parking.

Art Morgan, the city’s director of public services, said Friday that the project to tear down the building could begin this fall, with a completion date sometime in the spring of 2014. City officials considered the possibility of rehabbing the building and finding a new use for it, but it was laden with asbestos and in structural disrepair. An effort to bring the building up to code would have cost from $20 million to $30 million

Demolishing the building presents a problem, in that the police department was built in a way that provides structural support to Court Street. Without the building, that portion of Court Street might become unstable and collapse toward the Kenduskeag Stream, so the project cost also factors in the construction of a 20-foot retaining wall to prevent that from happening.

The city also plans to build additional parking spaces at the site, possibly for lease to Penobscot County or other groups. The project will require shutting down Court Street so a natural gas main could be moved. During construction, crews also will upgrade aging sewer lines in the area.

In all, the demolition, retaining wall, parking lot construction and street work is expected to cost about $1.76 million, according to Morgan.

Just down the street, a historic Bangor home at 150 Court St. was gutted this past winter after a fire started in the chimney. Nothing has happened at the building since the flames fizzled out on Jan. 24.

The city acquired the 178-year-old home from its owner, Gregory Barrows, 67, in July in exchange for the city’s forgiveness of back taxes on the property.

City Manager Cathy Conlow said Friday that the city was preparing to issue a request for proposals to demolish that building. City Councilors and staff have stressed in recent months the importance of crafting a policy to deal with properties in the city that are dangerous or whose owners are years behind in their taxes.

Crafting that ordinance is on the to-do list, and should go before the council in the near future, Conlow said.

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