Deering Oaks pond in Portland will be open for skating

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PORTLAND — There will be ice skating on the pond at Deering Oaks Park this winter after all.

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said the pond was being refilled after contractors completed work ahead of schedule on replacing sections of the pond bottom.

Grondin said good weather allowed for completion of work city officials had expected to last through March. The pond was filled to half capacity in hopes rain would completely fill it and cold temperatures would freeze a skating surface.

The bottom of the pond was dredged and a surface of concrete “fingers” and gravel installed in a $1.1 million project designed to make semi-annual cleanings easier. In the spring, the ravine area leading toward the park’s walking bridge will be replanted with native species to provide a better habitat for ducks and other wildlife.