Excavation equipment is shown in a construction zone along a path
Bangor's waterfront walking trail is shown in 2020, before it was shut down for the installation of a 3.8-million gallon underground combined sewer overflow tank Credit: Eesha Pendarkhar / BDN

Bangor plans to buy one of the last privately owned plots of land along its Penobscot River waterfront as the city looks to reopen the area to pedestrians after much of it closed for two years to allow for major sewer work.

The city applied for congressional funds to pay for the purchase of the property at 1 Dutton St., downhill from the Hollywood Casino, city manager Debbie Laurie told the Bangor City Council this week.

Laurie proposed setting aside $300,000 in the fiscal year 2023 proposed budget if the federal funding request isn’t approved, so the city could still buy the property.

In addition to the reopening of the waterfront area walking path to pedestrians, the purchase could coincide with an expansion of Bangor’s waterfront park. The city has discussed extending the waterfront walking trail by a few hundred feet in the coming years using federal government funds.

The Bangor City Council adopted an executive order on April 11 granting Laurie the authority to enter into an agreement with contractor SE MacMillan to buy the property for $275,000 by June 1, 2023.

SE MacMillan has owned the Dutton Street property since January 2020, when it bought the plot to demolish abandoned asphalt storage tanks as part of city work to cut down on raw sewage flowing into the river. SE MacMillan is the primary contractor on the sewer work.

Access to that part of the waterfront has been blocked since February 2020, when SE MacMillan began building an underground 3.8-million gallon sewage tank that will collect sewage and stormwater overflow to prevent the city’s sewer system from overflowing and contaminating the Penobscot River with untreated sewage.

“The City has long been interested in acquiring the 1 Dutton Street parcel to provide continuous City-owned property along the Penobscot River,” the city said in the executive order.

“The Engineering Department believes this is a generous offer and a great opportunity for the City to increase the area of its waterfront property.”

The city valued the two-acre parcel at $249,400 last year, according to assessment records. SE MacMillan bought the property for $350,000 from an Ohio asphalt company.

SE MacMillan expects to be done with the tank project at the end of June, according to a compliance report the city submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January.

The sewage tank project is one of several projects Bangor is undertaking as part of a federal mandate to address water contamination.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.