BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The Bangor City Council is preparing to launch an extensive renovation of downtown's West Market Square. Out of date utility lines will be replaced under ground, but above ground, a beautification of the square's park will take place. But store owners in the square have one thing they would like to see go - the trees.
"When there's no light out there, people don't even know we exist," says Paul Beaulieu, Bar Manager of The Big Easy.
Shop owners in West Market Square face the challenge of being further off the street, more out of sight than stores right on the main road. On top of that, the trees in the square's park are in the way.
"They do block the buildings. When you're driving by you really can't see the signage," says Connie Bovin, Owner and General Manager of the Charles Inn.
"Visibility from Main Street, per say, coming in, people drive by constantly. They don't even see us," Beaulieu says.
The view of the sign isn't just important to the Charles Hotel and The Big Easy bar, it's what brings in the business. And when people can't see it from the road, they don't stop to look. That means the hotel is losing customers.
"A lot of times, especially when the hotels are full, they'll call me and I'll have rooms and they'll send them from the Fireside up here, which is just down the street and I'll wait fifteen, twenty minutes, they don't show up. Finally they'll call and say yeah we couldn't find it so we just drove on. And that happens all the time," Bovin says.
The hotel and bar are not allowed to have illuminated signs, and a rounded roof makes it difficult to install a bigger sign on top of the building. Other store owner's understand the issue but still want to see trees in the West Market Square, including co-owner Zeth Lundy of the environmentally friendly Central Street Farmhouse.
Lundy says, "People are going to use it to hang out during the afternoon in the summer time and you want some shade. It's a balance that has to be struck and I think downtown has done a really good job at finding that balance every time something like this comes up."
The staff of the hotel and bar hope there will be a reason to move the tree during next month's renovation of the square, so that they don't lose more customers.