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  • Bangor Daily News

    Piles of rubble remain months after demolition of old Bangor YMCA began

    By Marie Weidmayer,


    Months after the demolition of the old Bangor YMCA building was scheduled to be completed, piles of rubble still remain — though officials hope they will be cleared by the end of May.

    Walls of the pool, along with parts of the foundation, remain standing as of Friday afternoon. There are piles of brick, cinder blocks, metal scraps, and rebar within the chain link fence at the corner of Hammond and Court streets.

    The now mostly demolished building , owned by Penobscot County, had been deteriorating for years. Bricks started falling off one corner of the building early last spring.

    While there are no plans yet for what comes next for the space , the county intends to continue the demolition until the land is no longer an eyesore, commission Chairman Andre Cushing said. The county will bring in fill dirt for the property to ensure it is stable.

    It’s more relief than excitement to have the project close to completion, Cushing said. Demolition started March 4 .
    The rubble left from the demolition of the old YMCA building on Hammond Street in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

    County commissioners decided to demolish the building in 2023. The original request from the county was for the demolition to be completed by Dec. 31 . However, it was not a hard and fast timeline, Cushing said. It just provided a timeline so people knew the work would be completed.

    The county originally wanted to renovate the building so it could become the new jail; however, the cost estimates and space available meant that wasn’t feasible, Cushing said.

    “Sadly the best alternative was to raze the building and remove any hazardous materials,” Cushing said.

    The county bought the more than 50,000-square-foot building for $825,000 in 2017 , a day after the city of Bangor condemned the building. The property was sold by the estate of William Buxton, who died in 2016. He had bought the building in 2013 for a denturist school, but abandoned those plans.

    Weeks of asbestos abatement started in November, County Administrator Scott Adkins said. As the abatement team got deeper into the building, it discovered “surprise” asbestos, Adkins said.

    Part of the issue was more asbestos being found between the walls of the original building and an addition, Cushing said.

    There was an additional cost beyond the original estimate of $297,400, but it was “not as bad as predicted,” Adkins said. An exact cost is not available yet, as the county has a few invoices left to pay.

    With abatement taking longer than expected, the demolition was then delayed. It was further complicated by issues the contractor, Alloy Group, encountered in the two months since the first wall was taken down. One excavator broke down a couple times, while finding dump trucks to haul the debris was difficult, Adkins said.

    In early April, a middle section of the brick building came down “unplanned” and collapsed onto Court Street, Brian MacDonald, Penobscot County’s director of facilities, said at an April 2 meeting. Red dust was visible on the street in the days after the collapse.

    An April 4 snowstorm also delayed the work, MacDonald said.

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