Arena construction not expected to affect Bangor State Fair

Posted July 02, 2011, at 5:55 p.m.
Last modified July 03, 2011, at 7:49 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Though it’s among the biggest construction projects in the city’s history, work on the city’s new arena is not expected to affect this year’s Bangor State Fair, which runs from July 29 through Aug. 7.

“We’re not really expecting any impact at all, other than it will be a curiosity thing,” Bass Park Director Mike Dyer said late last week. “It’s just a matter of coordinating. We’re used to that.”

The layout of the fairgrounds will stay essentially the same as last year, though attendees might at some points be redirected from the Dutton Street entrance to the upper and lower Buck Street entrances around the corner, Dyer said.

He also said it’s unlikely that dust from the project, which is just beginning to get under way with the installation of fencing, will be a problem.

“The prevailing winds blow down toward the [Penobscot] River,” he said, noting that the winds typically only reverse direction when it rains, which would knock dust out of the air.

Though an official groundbreaking has yet to be scheduled, Dyer said the fact that the fair and the start of the arena project could coincide should generate some additional interest in the construction project, which will cost an estimated $65 million to be paid for through revenues from Hollywood Slots and a portion of the city’s downtown tax increment financing district.

Legislation passed in the Maine House and Senate that would allow Hollywood Slots to add table games could increase the city’s share of revenues in future years, according to a story published last month in the Bangor Daily News.

Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. has been tapped to build the facility. Plans call for starting construction this summer and completing the project entirely by late 2013.

Among the changes that people will see as the project moves ahead are removal of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce building, which currently sits on the corner of Main and Dutton streets, and moving the skate park, which sits directly where the new arena will be built.

Bangor’s famed Paul Bunyan statue that overlooks Main Street will not be affected by construction.