Portland school gets grant to jumpstart Nason's Park project

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PORTLAND — An anonymous grant from an out-of-state foundation with ties to Portland has been awarded to Breakwater School for what is being called the “greenovation” of Nason’s Corner Park. 

The $85,000 grant is expected to allow the private school to complete the design and development of an estimated $600,000 renovation of the park, currently used by both private and public groups for walking, T-Ball, Little League baseball, youth football and its playground. 

The Breakwater School owns about an acre of the 3.75 acre park, at the corner of Capisic and Albion streets; the city owns the rest. 

Meredith Jones, the school’s director of communications, said the plans will preserve park fields, but will add a natural play-scape consisting of trees, gardens, hills, boulders, seating and walking paths.

The initial design, drafted by Terrence J. DeWan & Associates, was guided by input from the private school community, athletic teams, neighborhood residents and the city’s Public Services Department. 

Jones said the project recognizes the importance of having parks and natural green spaces locally accessible to families. She said national research indicates children benefit from interacting with nature, but having green park destinations accessible by bike or on foot will also benefit adult health and quality of life.

The collaborative group working on the new park includes the Nason’s Corner Neighborhood Association and the Portland Trails School Ground Greening Coalition, in addition to the city and school.

The group is seeking further support from public and private sources, an initiative Public Services Director Mike Bobinski said is the future of public parks.

“Open space funding in the city of Portland is even more critical today given the constraints of our city budgets,” Bobinski said. “No longer is that approach a nice thing to do, but rather a baseline approach.”

The first phase of the park project, which includes public fundraising, could be undertaken as soon as this summer. The remaining phases will be executed as funding allows. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.

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nasons corner.jpgAn $85,000 grant will help fund redevelopment of Nason’s Corner Park. The plan includes park space, athletic fields and playground areas shared by the city of Portland and Breakwater School. (Michael Barriault photo)