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  • Jordan D. Smith

What’s New for Portland’s Parks?

As previously reported in the Beacon, the plans to renovate Toan Park has got everyone talking! Besides business and individual donors on the project’s Patronicity account, there have been commemorative t-shirts sold by Hometown Sports, fundraising burgers and breakfasts at the VFW hall, and a matching GoFundMe challenge from Lehman Funeral Home. Despite the last year of beyond challenging times for local restaurants, The Wagon Wheel has brought back their popular 20% Tuesdays the coming two weeks (5/11 and 5/18). Even Portland elementary school students have gotten involved with a change war between classes to earn the privilege of a squirt gun fight for their class. As of this writing the fundraising effort for Toan Park has collected a bit over $60,000 of the $100,000 goal with a few more weeks to go.

“The second half of the fundraising effort will be the most challenging,” says Tina ConnorWellman, Portland’s Downtown Development Authority director, “please help us by contributing when you can and spreading the word to your family and friends. We love the optimism and generosity of the Portland Community, together we can surely reach out goal and build this beautiful park that will serve the entire community in many ways for years to come.”

According to Portland City Manager, Tutt Gorman, the project to renovate Toan Park is unique in that it is in the downtown development area. That’s why the Portland Downtown Development Authority is able to fund the work as well as for matching funds to help inspire further fundraising. With all eyes on the current fundraising effort to renovate Toan Park, what is going on with Portland’s other parks? Portland has six parks plus the river trail to consider when budgeting for improvements, according to Neil Brown, the director of Portland Parks, Recreation & Cemetery Department.

In the past few years the City has budgeted for basketball hoops, and swings at Alton and Brush Street Parks along with overhauling the Toan Park bathrooms this past summer. All parks also recently received upgraded signage as part of a larger project to update city wayfinding signs.

This coming summer the parks department has budgeted to renovate the bathrooms at Bogue Flats Recreation. There are also plans in the works to update wayfinding signs on the Portland River Trail this year. One of the best things about Portland says Goraman is that, “we are a small, walkable town and regardless where you live, any park is just a short walk or bike ride away.”


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