West Market Square shop owners frustrated with coming renovations

7:58 AM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Store owners in the West Market Square are upset about the utility line renovations outside their shops that will last through the summer, their busiest season.

"We're going to completely disrupt downtown and Market Square. We're going to disrupt the parking and all those businesses and I think that is a great concern," said Chris Ruhlin, owner of Herbal Tea & Tobacco in down town Bangor.

This project won't be a quick fix either. It's expected to last for several months.

"I think the winter time is a more appropriate time to take on these major infrastructure projects," he said.

After a difficult holiday season due to severe storms, store owners in West Market Square are unsure if they'll be able to handle the lack of foot traffic during the renovation. Although frustrating, city council said the renovations are necessary.

"Some of them are brick sewers that were built in the 1860's, so they're beyond their usable life; they're collapsing in some places. The water maine...is also quite old," said City Council's Project Manager on the renovation, Amanda Soucier.

Along with the replacement of the utility lines, the city will add a long anticipated walkway, which will connect the square and downtown area to the waterfront. City Council understands the concerns and said they intend to help.

"We're going to do everything we can to get the word out to the public and to their customer base to let them know that the businesses are still open and that...they're still accessible as well," says Jason Bird, City Council Business Development Officer and Downtown Coordinator.

Renovations will begin in April and last through September. City Council said residents will also hear some noise during the renovation, but the construction hours will be kept from 7 a.m. to just after dusk. The city will avoid having construction on weekends as much as possible.  

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