April 05, 2020

August races get Bass Park panel OK> Motorcycle show overrides objections


After a cautious vote by the Bass Park Advisory Committee on Monday, a Massachusetts company is set to bring its two-day motorcycle show to Bass Park Aug. 29-30. Sideways Promotions, run by Peter Giammalvo in Westminster, got the go-ahead in a 3-0 vote by Councilors Joseph Baldacci, Timothy Woodcock and Michael Crowley.

But the bike show was no slam-dunk, to mix metaphors.

Committee members had discussed the issue for a couple of meetings, airing their own concerns over noise and listening to those of some of the Bass Park neighbors: Fred Vardamis, Doug Clendenning, and Royce and Martha Day.

In fact, when three motorcyclists tried out their bikes on the harness racing track at the end of the summer, one councilor heard the noise over the telephone.

“Royce Day held his phone out on the front porch,” recalled Woodcock, who was on the other end of the line.

It was very noisy, Woodcock allowed, while adding, “we won’t know until they actually do it” what the disturbance would be during a race. Mitigating the noise would be “a significant and daunting task,” he conjectured.

The plan approved by the committee would allow the racing to take place from 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the last weekend of August.

But the promoter expects the races — six minutes or so of racing, then 10 minutes off — to run only from 2 to 6 p.m. both days, for a total of eight hours. The hour before and after each session are a “buffer” in case any problems in scheduling crop up.

Bass Park Director Mike Dyer distributed to the committee a letter from Jeff Taylor, general manager of the Rochester Fair in New Hampshire. Taylor wrote that there had been no problems reported by neighbors of the motorcycle racing there.

But, Dyer added, the racetrack in Rochester was 1,500 feet from the nearest residence, whereas the minimum distance in Bangor is 123 feet to a house on Buck Street. Still, Dyer recommended that Bass Park try the event one year and see how it was received.

City Manager Ed Barrett said he recommended against the event.

“I feel a great responsibility for the neighbors,” commented Councilor Michael Crowley in describing how he felt “torn” over the issue. He went on to say, “I balance that against what I feel is an obligation to make Bass Park work.”

In other business, Dyer discussed the recent “Sesame Street” shows, which netted Bass Park about $1,900 after expenses for its share of the ticket sales, in addition to $3,100 in profits on concessions.

Dyer explained this was a new kind of event for the complex in that instead of charging rent or taking a percentage of ticket sales, Bass Park was a “co-promoter.” Attendance was lower than anticipated because it was held the weekend before Christmas, he said, but another time co-promotion could bring in more money for Bass Park.

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