PORTLAND — Nearly five years after beginning the search for a new skatepark site, the committee responsible for planning and supporting the park is closing in on its fundraising goal.
The city announced recently that the Skatepark Committee was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, pulling fundraisers within about $7,600 of qualifying for a $50,000 matching grant. Once that matching grant is secured, the committee is expected to go out to bid for construction.
The committee’s fundraising goal was $325,000. Although the committee will be about $70,000 short after qualifying for the matching grant from the Ollie Fund, committee Chairman and City Councilor Dave Marshall said that may not matter since bids for construction projects have been coming in low.
“Construction projects are coming in 30 to 40 percent lower than they had been,” Marshall said. “I’m pretty confident we should be able to get a good deal on that project.”
Marshall said he expects the Skatepark Committee to discuss remaining fundraising initiatives as well as bid timing at a meeting Thursday at at 5 p.m. at the Cummings Center, 134 Congress St.
“We’ll give it a final fundraising push,” Marshall said. “We also have some grants out we’re waiting to hear back on.”
Portland’s old skatepark on Marginal Way was removed three years ago to make way for development. After a lengthy search process for a new location, the City Council approved putting the new park at Dougherty Field off Douglass Street.
Tom Noble of Kennebunkport-based Who Skates? was hired to design the new park. His proposal includes stairs, rails, ramps and three, connected concrete bowls. The design, called Crop Circles, was chosen by the public from three options.
The committee is also still holding a “Buy a Brick” fundraiser. For $50, supporters can purchase a personalized brick that will be installed at the new park. For more information, go to portlandmaine.gov/buyabrick.pdf.