The city has entered into a 99-year lease with Bangor Savings Bank that will beautify City Square Park in downtown Biddeford. The City Council voted unanimously on the issue during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
According to city documents, the lease would obligate Bangor Savings to maintain the park throughout the duration of the lease. Bangor Savings would be solely responsible for the park, and any future changes to the park would require City Council approval.
The park site sits adjacent to a historic building on 208 Main St., formerly a Bank of America, that Bangor Savings is planning to renovate into another branch in the downtown. The branch is expected to open in 2018 and construction is planned to begin in October.
Upgrades to the park will include improving the area’s accessibility with a new sidewalk. The park’s northerly side will also be expanded to increase green space and mitigate the confusion as to where people enter the park.
The expansion would also allow for the creation of three parking spaces for the bank and park use.
Councilors were all in agreement on the park’s renovations and the details of the lease.
Councilor Marc Lessard noted that he’d like to see the existing, large trees in the park remain when the park upgrade is complete.
“There are two old growth trees that are currently located there,” said Lessard. “I’m a big supporter of big trees … when the park is done I’d like to see those trees remain and that they aren’t replaced with a couple of trees that are eight feet tall.”
City Manager Jim Bennett confirmed that there is no need for the trees to come down.
Other councilors praised the improved accessibility the upgrade will provide.
“The existing park is not very easily accessible, unless you’re willing to climb the wrought aisle fence” said Councilor Stephen St. Cyr. “I did see in the proposal that there were three parking spots that were specific for access to the park which I too thought was a nice idea.”
Regarding the supposed cannon that currently sits in the park as a decorative piece, Councilor Michael Swanton said he would have no issue with the “cannon” being removed.
“That cannon isn’t a cannon, it’s a mortar launcher from World War I and I’m not sure that it has any historical significance in the City of Biddeford,” said Swanton. “If that disappeared I wouldn’t put any convenance on that.”
As part of the agreement, Bangor Savings will need to maintain the park during winter as well.