April 07, 2020

Freese’s building option granted

BANGOR — Realty Resources Chartered of Rockport is the new option holder for the front part of the Freese’s building at 74-96 Main St. The City Council quickly approved the measure Monday evening, giving the firm an option on the building until Nov. 30, with a possible extension of six months.

The company, which already has opened 34 units of senior citizen housing in the back of the structure, plans to use the three upper floors for a similar project — this one for elderly who need more social and medical services to continue living on their own.

The first floor of the six-story building will be retail space, according to a proposal submitted earlier this month, and the second and third floors will be offices.

There was no public comment or discussion among the councilors after Councilor Joseph Baldacci moved that the proposal be approved.

If the project comes to fruition, Baldacci said, “it would be a great investment in our downtown and in that building, which sorely needs it.” The redevelopment would “help keep things moving forward in the downtown.”

Realty Resources expects to begin construction on the $6 million project later this year and open the affordable housing project by the end of 1999.

The previous agreement on the building had been between the city and the Northern Conservatory of Music and the Performing Arts, but the council declined to renew the agreement in December.

Also Monday, representatives of All Souls Congregational Church turned out to hear what the plans were for Diva’s, the church’s neighbor at 65 State St. The exotic dance business had applied for a liquor license, but withdrew its application Monday morning and no vote was taken.

No reason was given for the change of plans, but city ordinances may have been a consideration. A provision passed in 1981 prohibits nudity and similar displays in establishments where liquor is served.

In other business, the council voted to appropriate $53,400 to hire a consulting firm, Edwards and Kelcey Inc., to do an analysis of how a runway at Bangor International Airport could be repaved without disrupting normal operations. Ninety-five percent of the funds will come from federal and state sources.

Councilor John Rohman said he thought it would be a conflict of interest for him to participate in the discussion and vote because Edwards and Kelcey hires his company, WBRC, to do other work at the airport. The council agreed, and Rohman did not participate.

Another conflict of interest was declared with regard to Councilor Michael Crowley and a matter the municipal operations committee will consider next Tuesday.

Because Crowley’s employer, Eastern Maine Healthcare, is a party to contracts for ambulance services, he will not participate in discussion or voting on whether the Bangor Fire Department should expand its services and do nonemergency transfers of patients between various health care facilities.

A vote in which everyone participated was the acceptance of nearly $34,000 for a trust fund to benefit the Bangor Creative Playground. Fairmount Terrace Corp., the nonprofit corporation which raised the money to build and maintain the facility, asked the city to take over the money and use it for work on the playground.

City Councilor Nichi Farnham said that the gift was a timely one, as architect Robert Leathers came to Bangor last fall to do an assessment of repairs the playground needed.

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