April 09, 2020
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Expansion of Bangor’s waterfront park would extend pedestrian path along Penobscot River

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Xena, a 6-year-old golden retriever, enjoys an afternoon stroll along the Bangor waterfront with her owner, Beverly Michaud of Hampden, in late January.

Yet another project could add to the expected series of changes along the Bangor waterfront over the next few years.

In addition to a 2 ½-year construction project that has recently closed the lower half of the city’s waterfront park and a possible expansion of Geaghan’s Pub and Craft Brewery, the city is also considering extending the waterfront park to the south by a few hundred feet, according to a preliminary proposal.

The expansion, which would probably not begin for at least two years, would be mostly funded by a grant from the federal government. If it is approved by the Bangor City Council, it would probably happen after the city completes the construction project that recently closed off a large section of the current park, according to City Engineer John Theriault.

The expansion could bring a new parking lot as well as an extension of the walking path that now winds through the park, according to a rough concept that will be reviewed by city councilors during a meeting Tuesday night. The proposal also calls for the city to add more lighting to the waterfront park.

The expansion would take place on city-owned land between the Penobscot River and the railroad, which stretches from Dutton Street to the Interstate 395 overpass. It would also be near the city-owned land that councilors recently authorized for sale to Geaghan’s, which is considering expanding the brewing operations at its Bangor restaurant and adding more outdoor seating and parking.

In the summer of 2018, the city made an effort to clear a homeless encampment in that area by cutting down the trees and thick overgrowth that covered it.

The City Council will have to approve entering an agreement with state transportation officials to pursue the project. To pay for it, the city would need to provide $80,081 to match the $320,324 in federal funds that are available for the work. The agreement would give the city until the end of 2023 to use the funds.

Theriault estimated that the city could extend the walking path by roughly 350 feet with that funding.

“It’s always been an idea to continue the waterfront trail with whatever property the city owns,” Theriault said. “Once we get into the design of it and figure out how much work we can do with the available money, we’ll do as much as we can on that section.”

 


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