A rendering of the planned Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex. Courtesy of Town of Brunswick

The projected cost of the first phase of a new Brunswick recreation complex has increased significantly and the construction timeline has been delayed.

Construction of the first phase of the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex at Brunswick Landing was supposed to start earlier this spring and to be completed this year, but the town received no construction bids in March. A total of $1.12 million was allocated for the project, which calls for eight pickleball courts, a skatepark and a perimeter trail. Since then, the council received three bids ranging from $1.3 million to $1.8 million.

Sally Costello, the town’s director of economic and community development, told the Town Council on Monday the construction completion timeline was extended to June 2024 and suggested the council approve allocating $1.67 million, $550,000 more than originally approved, to account for the higher bid prices.

The council agreed to hold a public hearing June 5 on the potential allocation increase.

“I have reservations about this,” Council Chairperson James Mason said, noting the extra money could be used for other projects in town.

Councilor Steve Walker cited the council’s passage of a new budget that would include a 7.4% property tax increase.


“We have to do something about costs, and some projects we just have to say ‘no’ to,” Walker said.

Costello said the bids came in higher because local construction companies said they have fewer workers available. She said the extra money could come from a combination of a federal grant, recreation fees, leftover coronavirus relief funds and contributions that Bowdoin College makes to the town. Also, the Maine Skateboard Association has pledged $30,000 and the Midcoast Pickleball Association has pledged $25,000.

“We think this is critical infrastructure,” Costello said, adding that $400,000 already has been spent or will be spent on the complex’s planning and design.

Mike Lyne, chairperson of the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex Advisory Committee, told the council while the potential cost increase is unfortunate, the complex is a necessity.

“Everyone sees the bang for the buck,” Lyne said. “People are going to be using this asset.”

He added, “This is the time to strike. This project is ready to go. It’s so shovel-ready. But I know it’s not easy for this body, especially after this budget season, to consider something like this.”

He said the committee will commit itself to more private fundraising to help offset costs.

The committee envisions the complex including basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, an aquatics center and an ice rink during future construction phases.

The public hearing on the potential cost increase is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 5 at Town Hall.

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