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New Bangor Auditorium Could Cost Half As Much As Last Projection 

Catherine Pegram

A replacement for the aging Bangor Auditorium could cost about half as much as the city once expected to pay. That’s what community leaders heard today during a presentation from a newly-hired consulting firm out of Chicago. Representatives studied the area to find out what kind of facility they believe the community could support and what kind of price tag it could carry. Mayor Gerry Palmer says new estimates for a new auditorium are now coming in the 50-million dollar range – about half the cost of the last projections. He says a lot of that is thanks to a dip in the economy and an ala carte plan created by the consultants. That would let the city pick and choose certain features and build a facility over time. David Stone with Economics Research Associates says, “We’re not suggesting you build the Taj Mahal. That would be an unnecessary expense and you wouldn’t need it to get the kind of events that would be held here. It’s just not necessary and probably not affordable. But not necessary, more importantly.”Palmer says, “The Maine way is to be frugal and I think this is much like a wedding, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. And I think we’ll come up with a very good product.”The city’s studied the idea of a new auditorium for years.Members of an arena advisory committee say they’re excited about the possibilities proposed by the new architecture team. One of the leading ideas is to build another facility next to the current arena, then turn it into ballroom and meeting space, while updating the civic center. The advisory committee will review today’s proposal and discuss it in a couple of weeks.