BANGOR, Maine — With city officials starting to think about a major overhaul of Pickering Square, the idea of allowing a food truck to move into the downtown landmark area has been put on the back burner.
During a Tuesday night meeting with the city’s Business and Economic Development Committee, Tanya Emery, Bangor’s director of community and economic development, recommended that the city delay permitting a food truck in Pickering Square until a major renovation of the public space is planned and completed.
“At the end of the day, we feel it’s best to hold off on changing the use of Pickering Square for now,” Emery said.
Last month, a vendor reached out to the city, expressing interest in setting up shop year-round in a truck in the square. The city has not said who the vendor is. The committee asked city staff to sit down and craft policies mirroring those it placed on the Bangor Waterfront in a parking lot two food truck vendors call home.
City staff talked it over and decided now is not a good time to establish a new enterprise in Pickering Square. The committee agreed.
The vendor, and any other vendors who might want to set up a food truck in town, could be redirected to one of the other spaces in which the city permits food trucks, including the Bangor Waterfront or the Kmart, Emery added.
The owners of Cielos and Schnitzel’s, two seasonal food trucks that set up in the Kmart lot, announced earlier this month that they were moving their businesses to California so they can have a longer operational season and won’t lose months of revenue to winter weather.
This winter, city engineers, development officials, stakeholders and others expect to draft a new plan and design for Pickering Square, situated between the Kenduskeag Stream and Main Street, in front of the parking garage.
The city is closing in on the completion of a major, summer-long renovation of West Market Square and expects to move down Broad Street to Pickering Square to launch a similar effort sometime in 2015 or 2016.
There are many questions about the square’s future, ranging from whether it’s the best place for the city’s buses to how to make it a better community space. The city’s Government Operations Committee decided last month that there shouldn’t be any major changes to the city’s bus hub location, citing unsure results of a move or prohibitive costs. That could remove that complicating factor from planning work renovations in Pickering Square, at least for now.
Work could start in the square sometime in 2015, but it’s possible a shovel won’t hit the dirt until 2016 because planning, permitting and getting necessary City Council and state approvals will take some time.
“We don’t want to rush something in a narrow construction season,” Emery said.