The City of Bangor today held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction of the new Bangor Arena at Bass Park, to replace the aging Bangor Auditorium. Bangor City Councilors were joined by representatives of Cianbro, the General Contractor on the project, and Sink Combs Dethlefs, the project architect.
“The City of Bangor celebrates an extraordinary accomplishment today,” said Council Chair Susan M. Hawes. “With the overwhelming support of the residents, Bangor today moves one step closer to being the home of Northern New England’s pre-eminent public event center.”
Cianbro Chairman and CEO Pete Vigue was one of three key speakers at the ceremony. “Bangor is poised to regain its past prominence and become a destination,” said Pete. “The city has all of the necessary amenities to support that vision, and I’m confident with the continued leadership of the city council and support of Bangor area businesses, that the vision will be achieved within the next 10 years. Our role is to continue to lead by our actions. By working in a collaborative manner to bring this project to fruition, we have strived to give people the confidence and courage to act.”
The Bangor Auditorium has been a beloved community gathering spot for half a century, housing the Eastern Maine basketball tournament since its opening. In the last 56 years the Auditorium has housed a wide range of community events, ranging from nationally known performers and speakers to local garden shows and fundraisers.
Council Chair Hawes broke ground with a plated shovel that was used on April 28, 1954 for the groundbreaking of the original Bangor Auditorium, and again in 1977 for the start of construction on the Civic Center addition. The shovel has been used for notable groundbreakings around the region since 1954, including Bangor High School, Penobscot County Jail, the terminal expansion of Bangor International Airport in 1991, New England School of Communications, and several Habitat for Humanity homes.
After the overwhelming voter approval in May, project mobilization began in June, with the location of office trailers on site, temporary fencing installation, and signage. The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and the City’s Skate Park are being relocated from Bass Park to make way for the site work. With the required Maine Department of Environmental Protection permit now in hand, Cianbro expects to begin enlisting site, steel, concrete and precast subcontractors shortly.
Targeted for completion in the fall of 2013, the new Bangor Arena and Event Center will be a critical social and economic asset for the entire Bangor region. With direct and indirect economic impact in the millions of dollars annually, the City has identified this project as an opportunity to promote Bangor as a top tier event destination for Northern New England and Atlantic Canadian markets. The new venue will also leverage additional private investment and create jobs in the hospitality, retail, and service sectors.