HERMON – Located just west of Bangor along cracked and rutted Route 2, this town of about 4,000, full of railroad tracks, dirty snowbanks, and dying dreams is looking for a a way to boost its outlook.
At its regular workshop Thursday, the Town Council addressed the issue of whether Hermon can be called a “borough.”
“I don’t see why not,” said Council Chair Sharon Nickerson. “We can call ourselves whatever we want, can’t we? I mean, Brewer calls itself a ‘city,’ for crying out loud!”
Hermon’s official website struggles to market the town with a straight face. It calls Bangor International a “major airport,” and offers “new age homes in carefully crafted suburban developments.”
“If ‘new age’ means ‘built in the last 30 years, I guess that could be accurate,” said town code enforcer Annette Merrithew.
The site also refers to a “village area,” which seems to consist of a couple of gas stations and a used car dealership, along with some abandoned businesses.
The town is “just minutes from … state of the art shopping facilities,” according to its website. This may refer to the Bangor Mall, which opened 30 years ago, or to the Airport Mall, which sits in a time vortex from 1967.
Town Manager Clint Deschene said referring to Hermon as a “borough” on the town’s promotional materials, including the website, could result in greater business appeal and tourism traffic.
“Right now the extent of our tourism is people eating at Dysart’s, which most people think is in Hampden, anyway,” Deschene said.
“We also have Hermon Mountain, but no reputable skier wants to be seen there,” he added. “But if we were a ‘borough,’ I think that would change.”
Annis Road resident (yes, there is an “Annis Road” in Hermon) Pam Fish objected to the idea, calling it a “status grab” that would not reflect the town’s true character.
“This ain’t Hampden, people,” she said. “Let them try to be all richie rich and fu-fu. We got better things to worry about.”
Random House defines “Borough” as “an incorporated municipality smaller than a city.” In the United States, the term is often used to refer to a municipality just outside a major city, or to one of the five administrative divisions of New York City (such as Queens, or New Jersey).
Bangor, Fish argued, is not a “major city.”
The council agreed to take up a formal resolution on the matter at its next meeting, when it will also discuss whether residents should be allowed to continue defecating in ditches and spray painting their names on all the town infrastructure.