A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That Was Quick: The Renovated Civic Center Loses Its Lustre, Weeks Before Construction Begins

Last fall, when County bureaucrats were trying to razzle-dazzle voters into lending them $33 million to renovate their hockey arena (subsidized minor-league hockey being apparently the last, tenuous raison d'ĂȘtre for the existence of county government), they publicized these architectural renderings of a newly-renovated Civic Center:

This week, the County went to the planning board to get final approval. The architects' drawings have changed a bit:
This second image represents what's actually being built. It's like a $33 million trip for second helpings at Old Country Buffet: the same bland, ugly architecture that made you sick the first time around — only now, there's even more of it!


Don said...

But there'll be some paintings on the concrete wall. And some brick.

Ed said...

Let's hope for better lighting, bike racks, benches and a couple of drinking water fountains.Bike/ped friendly please. Also a drop off point for elders and carpoolers would be nice.

Patrick said...

As a member of the planning board, I agree. However, it was beyond our purview to require luster here. And, when I asked the developers after a meeting, I was informed the above graphic (which included meeting/function space in the in-fill space over the overhangs) was done by an entirely different firm, before the current firm was selected. If that helps explain anything a bit...

The front door is really the centerpiece here, and not too much could be done with limited funding. Ultimately, I think a new structure in Bayside would have been far better, but this is what we get.