A project that would provide a multipurpose artificial turf playing field and an eight-lane all-weather track at J. Henry Cameron Stadium is the only bond issue awaiting Bangor voters on this year’s ballot.
The Bangor City Council voted 9-0 in August to authorize a municipal bond that would provide for $2,730,000 in renovations at the athletics facility, which is located behind the William S. Cohen Middle School between Garland Street and Mt. Hope Avenue.
If approved, the money would enable the city to replace the decades-old grass football field and the deteriorating six-lane track. The facility has been the home for Bangor High School’s football and outdoor track and field teams, along with Bangor Youth Football.
Plans call for the installation of an artificial grass surface that would convert the football-only field into a surface suitable for football, soccer, lacrosse and other events. The turf also would provide for increased use of the facility by Bangor High School teams and other community programs.
The proposed eight-lane track would provide a safe surface on which to run, as the track cannot be used for competition in its present condition. The improvements also would enable Bangor to host Maine Principals’ Association regional and state championship events on both the field and the track.
Bangor Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb and the Bangor School Committee in August introduced a proposal for the improvements to the City Council. The recommendations emerged last December when the School Committee first presented an outline for the field and track renovations to the City Council.
That plan was based on recommendations made in 2018 by Oak Point Associates, a Biddeford-based architectural firm that studied a potential infrastructure makeover of Bangor school facilities.
An overhaul of Cameron Stadium was first proposed in 2010. A $1.65 million grandstand renovation was completed in 2013 and financed by a $1.2 million bond and money from the Cameron Stadium contingency fund and The Friends of Cameron Stadium, a nonprofit group.
In 2016, the City Council approved $668,000 for the completion of the locker rooms under the grandstand at the facility.
If approved by voters, work on Cameron Stadium could begin as early as next spring. The city expects interest costs for borrowing the money to total $711,000 over the life of the bond. Bangor currently has about $127 million in outstanding debt, according to the financial statement on city ballots.