Major Development Initiatives: Waterfront Redevelopment
The City has worked for over twenty years toward the redevelopment of the Bangor Waterfront. Stretching from the Kenduskeag Stream near the Joshua Chamberlain bridge, our waterfront extends almost one-mile down the Penobscot to the Veterans Rememberance Bridge and I-395. This area provides a natural connection between downtown Bangor and the City's Bass Park Complex, and has been planned to include both public amenities and private development.
Beginning in the 1980's , the City has acquired and removed dilapidated or antiquated structures and facilities along the Penobscot including a petroleum storage facility, coal storage yard, and warehouse space. With the closure of the railroad switching yard in the mid 1990's, the City acquired the remainder of the property and began serious planning for the future.
In recent years, the City has replaced the bulkhead along Front Street and significantly improved public areas along Railroad and Front Streets. Recent work has also included improvements along the water's edge between the river and the Front-street improvements. This summer, a large vessel dock will be installed to serve two visiting cruise ships and to provide dock space for large visiting vessels.
In the future, these improvements will extend further down river between the Penobscot and the remaining railroad line and will feature walking paths, play areas, and other amenities that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The proposed walking trail will serve to connect our downtown to the Bass Park Complex, current home of the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center and Bangor Historic Track.
Private development has alread begun. A former shoe factory on Front Street is now the Sea Dog Pub and Restaurant. A number of existing structures in the area between Front, Railroad, and Summer Streets have also be renovted and rehabilitated into office and residential uses.
The City is actively working to promote further private development of the Waterfront. We are currently working with hotel, condominium, and office developers on private investment options for portions of the 36-acre parcel owned by the City. Initial concepts call for the construction of a full service hotel, condominiums, retail and restaurant space, an amphitheater, and office space.
Areas to be privately developed have been carefully selected to preserve signifcant portions of the waterfront for public use and enjoyment.
Bangor’s Riverfront is emerging as a major entertainment venue. The City hosted 100,000 people on the shores of the Penobscot River for the 2004 National Folk Festival. This was the third year of a three-year run in the “Queen City,” with musical acts and cultural activities from throughout North American and the world. In August 2005, the National Folk Festival became the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. This event, patterned after the National festival, continued to feature the same high level of entertainment, crafts, traditional arts, and local cuisine. Last August, over 125,000 attended the festival's first year.
Bangor Landing, the City's harbor on the Penobscot, provides seasonal docks and moorings for the boating public. It also serves as the summer homeport for the American Cruise Lines vessel American Eagle as the ship
departs on its weekly “Maine Coast and Harbors Cruise.” Passengers
embark on a scenic 6-day cruise from Bangor Harbor and travel down
the Penobscot River to the bay. The decision by American Cruise Lines to
use Bangor as homeport marks a significant event in in
marketing the waterfront as a hub for transportation, entertainment, and
development opportunities. The new large vessel dock will support a second cruise ship during the summer of 2006.
For more information about the City’s Penobscot Riverfront Development Project and private development opportunities, contact Rod McKay or call the Department of Community and Economic Development at 207-992-4240.