Bangor residents came together over the past several months to determine how their individual neighborhoods and the city as a whole could become better places to live. The city’s Innovative Neighborhoods competition ended in late November as the results of a people’s choice vote on the best ideas were revealed.
For participants in a poll hosted this fall on the BDN’s website, the improvements most likely to make Bangor a better place to live would be high-speed internet throughout the city and a 3-mile Bangor Greenway connecting much of the city’s east side with a pedestrian and bike pathway.
Residents in the city’s Vine Street School neighborhood proposed a public-private partnership between the city of Bangor and an internet service provider to bring high-speed and affordable internet access to the city. The first step would be conducting a feasibility study to determine the best path forward.
Residents from the city’s Fruit Street School neighborhood proposed the Bangor Greenway, which would connect the east side from Eastern Maine Medical Center to the Bangor Mall through a scenic pedestrian and bicycle path that supplements existing stretches of pedestrian paths.
There’s no guarantee either idea will come to fruition, but it’s a powerful statement from the energized Bangor residents who developed the ideas and the area residents who voted for them that there’s palpable enthusiasm for specific measures to make Bangor more livable and more appealing.
But as residents and elected officials contemplate ways to make Bangor better, they don’t have to stop at the winning Innovative Neighborhoods ideas. Bangor residents came together to propose 10 ideas total — five to improve their specific areas of the city and five to improve the city as a whole. Here are the additional ideas:
— Making Mansfield Stadium into a four-season facility offering residents and visitors a variety of dynamic family recreation, culture, arts and athletic activities throughout the year in addition to its regular schedule of baseball games and tournaments.
— Diverting organic waste such as food scraps from the waste stream using Exeter Agri-Energy’s anaerobic digestion process.
— Bringing people together on the first Friday of each month, for First Friday Fest, with activities such as art displays, street performers, food trucks, sales, restaurant specials, children’s activities and free transportation.
— Creating a multi-generational recreation space and community center to promote community health and fitness, connectedness and economic growth.
— Adding a sidewalk and bike lane along Buck Street to connect Main Street and Webster Avenue, and introducing a new outdoor farmers market utilizing the popularity of the Saturday morning European Farmers Market at 117 Buck St.
— Partnering with the Bangor Historical Society, local businesses, community groups and colleges and universities to develop a mobile app designed to be used as a walking tour in the Abraham Lincoln School neighborhood.
— Building an all-inclusive park and playground in the neighborhood served by Downeast School.
— Establishing an annual “Porchfest” event in the Fairmount neighborhood area that brings together music, art, and community in an intimate venue that is accessible and open to the public.
While it’s perhaps not feasible to implement all 10 — though some can become reality with the help of motivated residents — the ideas offer a guide as to what the city’s residents want.
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