BANGOR – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is looking for a larger facility in Bangor. It’s now seeking one that will be energy efficient. But the possibility that it can be moved to downtown is leaving some people concerned about the traffic congestion that it could cause.
“We’re looking for the facility that will provide the best value for the entire state,” said David Heidrich, of the Department of Administrative and Financial Service, “That comes into many different areas.”
When proposals are received from various developers, it goes through all of the scoring systems based on location, quality, experience and cost. But the possibility that it could be moved downtown is leaving some community members on edge.
“The application gives extra points to ones being located downtown,” said Bangor City Council Chairperson, Joseph Baldacci, “So obviously there’s going to be a preference that will push it that way.”
“I just don’t see the benefit of that kind of agency of service of being down here,” said Christine Gellerson, a sales clerk at Rebbeca’s Gift Shop.
DHHS has over 200 hundred employees and serves people from all over Penobscot Count. Some say the parking is already hard enough. Baldacci believes that there are other areas better suited for a building that will require such a large accommodation. He’s also worried about the impact that it will have on the bus hub, a discussion that has been ongoing.
“We need to talk to each other and I am a little unsatisfied with the level of nearly no communication from the state,” he said.
The new building has to provide parking for people utilizing it as well as for Americans with disabilities, so they are taking it all into consideration.
“There’s nothing about the request for proposal that requires the new facility to be built downtown, and really it doesn’t a new facility,” said Heidrich.
Which means it could be on the outskirts of downtown or even in its original location by the airport. Developers will be putting together proposals to look at specific locations and each proposal will be scored appropriately. As of now, nothing is decided.
“What we are trying to accomplish with this RFB, we have a tenant agency looking for a space that meets their needs,” said Heidrich, “And we’re committed to ensuring to finding a developer that can put together that meets those needs.”
Developers will be submitting their proposals to the bureau by march 28th.