Update, 2:20 p.m.

PORTLAND — A committee has recommended that Cumberland County commissioners ask voters for $30 million to $33 million to renovate the Cumberland County Civic Center.

During a three-hour meeting this morning, the 30-person building committee didn’t take a formal vote or agree on a unanimous number, but all favored going forward with the renovation, said Neal Pratt, the committee’s co-chairman.

Committee members couldn’t agree on a specific number because none of them wanted to raise taxes on Cumberland County residents, he said. And with hard-to-calculate variables like changing interest rates, construction costs and projected revenue, there was a disagreement on how much money the county could borrow while still achieving such a goal.

“We’re all rowing in the same direction,” Pratt said. “But those differences in opinion are what accounted for the different final numbers.”

The proposal would include improving the restrooms, making the civic center handicapped-accessible, increasing the number of concessions, making electrical upgrades and expanding the concourse space to make moving around easier.

It would also including $1.75 million in improvements to the loading docks – an upgrade the committee previously considered putting off until a future date.

The plan, however, will still not include loge boxes or new offices for the Portland Pirates, both of which the hockey organization pushed for.


PORTLAND — After more than three hours of discussion this morning, as well as months of other analysis and debate, the building committee for the Cumberland County Civic Center couldn’t agree on a unanimous recommendation for the civic center’s proposed $30 million-plus renovation.

Everyone agrees the county should move forward with the renovation, said Neal Pratt, the committee’s co-chairman. But the committee members disagreed on whether they should ask the public for $30 million, $32 million or $33 million.

The group did unanimously agree on one thing: The project shouldn’t raise property taxes in Cumberland County. But based on various analyses of interest rates, construction costs and future revenue, there wasn’t a clear consensus on how much the county could borrow without raising taxes and still completing all the desired repairs.

The committee will present its findings and opinions to the Civic Center trustees at 8 a.m. next Wednesday. If the trustees approve a plan, the Cumberland County commissioners will then decide Aug. 8 whether to put it on the November ballot.