May 30, 2020
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Bangor Y announces merger, construction plan

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Y on Thursday announced a $2.2 million, two-phase project that will consolidate operations into a renovated and expanded facility on Second Street.

The Y’s plans are the result of a study commissioned in 2008 to assess the feasibility of consolidating its two Bangor locations — the original YMCA on Hammond Street and the former YWCA on Second Street. The city’s YMCA and YWCA officially merged to form the Bangor Y in 2008.

Within the last year, the Y has quietly been acquiring small parcels of property adjacent to the Second Street campus that will allow expansion, Bangor Y CEO Mike Seile said.

“The difference between renovating Hammond Street versus Second Street was about $2 million,” he said. “That made the choice easy.”

A timeline for expanding the Second Street location and closing Hammond Street has not been determined, but Seile said Phase I would begin later this spring. Phase I includes expanding parking by more than 100 spaces at the Second Street location and renovating the existing gymnasium and workout facilities.

Phase II would involve continued renovations on Second Street and new construction to house, among other things, a full-size basketball court, a new fitness facility, new locker rooms and more.

Seile said the Hammond Street location eventually would be sold. Proceeds would go toward funding the Second Street expansions.

“But we won’t close Hammond Street until renovations at Second Street are complete,” he stressed.

So far, the Y has sought and received proposals from architectural firms and will choose a design company in the next few weeks. The Y also is set to go before the city’s planning board and the City Council for approval.

Phase I of the project, estimated to cost $403,000, will be paid for by a pledge from the YMCA Foundation, which is made up of longtime members and supporters. The Y will pay for Phase II, estimated at a cost of $1.8 million, by taking out a low-interest federal loan. However, Seile said proceeds from the Hammond Street sale and additional money from the foundation will subsidize that part of the project.

The Y hasn’t changed its rates since 2006, and Seile hopes that continues in the coming years. He also said the Y’s endowment fund, which currently stands at $1.8 million, will not be touched.

“During all of our assessments and negotiations, we have been planning, preparing and quietly working with partners to ensure that all of our core Y programs will survive and even grow during this time of transition,” Seile said.

The Y serves approximately 4,000 members in the Bangor area and relies on public support for about one-quarter of its total revenue. The YMCA dates back 146 years in Bangor and the YWCA has had a presence in the city for 96 years.

Meetings for Y members who would like more information about the project are scheduled for 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 4 at Hammond Street and 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. March 5 at Second Street.

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