Bangor Housing Authority wants to build a playground and park, complete with a basketball court and a spray park for kids. The Planning Board will vet the proposal at their Aug. 7 meeting. Credit: Courtesy of Bangor Housing Authority

The Bangor Planning Board on Tuesday will decide for a second time whether to allow Bangor Housing Authority to build a playground, basketball court and splash park in Downeast Circle.

The recreational addition to the roughly 600-unit Capehart neighborhood would include a playground, a full-size basketball court, a splash pad — a designated area with different fixtures that spray water for kids — and picnic tables and benches.

Currently there is no Bangor Housing playground in the approximately 3,000-resident neighborhood, where the majority of apartments are occupied by families with children, Mike Myatt, executive director of Bangor Housing, said Monday.

“Because of our location, Pancoe Pool might as well be 1,000 miles away. We’ve got nothing for kids to do,” he said. “The kids in this neighborhood don’t have other opportunities to access things like this. It would give them really safe alternative to basically being confined at home all day.”

But Planning Board members rejected the initial proposal at a June 5 meeting, after four neighbors spoke in opposition. The three dissenting board members did not explain why the project didn’t conform to the city’s Code of Ordinances, as they’re required, but instead cited noise impact on neighbors.

Myatt has since revamped the plan to quell those concerns. The proposed skate park has been removed from the proposal, and a planned parking lot off Davis Road has been scaled down from 16 spaces to 12. The playground will also be equipped with automatic lights that turn off at night, discouraging use, and a buffer of trees and other landscaping would separate the playground from the six abutting residences.

The project on the 2.65-acre lot could cost up to $500,000, but it would be be fully funded as a capital project with federal Housing and Urban Development money, Myatt said.

Christal Curtis, who has lived nearby on Dirigo Drive for six years with her two children, who are 7 and 13, said she often doesn’t have the time to drive her kids to a playground or the money to pay for admission at a pool. During the summer, they’re able to play at the Downeast School playground on Moosehead Boulevard, but it’s inaccessible to the public when school is in session.

“Other than that, we don’t have anything out here for these kids. It’s something that needs to be done,” Curtis said. Since June, she and another resident have been canvassing for the project around the neighborhood, and so far have collected more than 260 signatures in support.

“Something like this has been a long time coming,” she said.

The Planning Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, in City Hall.

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