Recently, Kennebec Savings Bank in Augusta demolished 53 Chapel Street, a 19th-century apartment building abutting the bank’s current parking lot on Chapel Street.

The bank purchased the building in April 2014 for $157,000. Andrew Silsby, Kennebec Savings Bank president, met with a handful of neighbors a few days prior to the demolition to discuss the imminent plans to take down the building. According to Silsby, the bank plans to relocate its ATM service eventually to the lot occupied by the apartment building. The city imposed a 90-day demolition delay and then issued the bank a demolition permit. During the 90-day delay, the bank says, no viable alternatives to demolition were proposed.

Given the bank’s previous nearby acquisitions, 53 Chapel St. was doomed to destruction when the bank purchased it. The bank and city leaders consider this economic progress, but the loss to the neighborhood goes beyond the building itself.

Now that 53 Chapel St. has fallen to the wrecking ball, the residential feel of that end of the street is gone forever. It will be yet another example of our passive response to the commercial creep into our neighborhood.

Mary Owen


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