PORTLAND — A short-cut from Fort Allen Park to the Eastern Promenade Trail is now an official path, having been graded, widened and stepped with granite.
Portland Trails, along with the Friends of the Eastern Promenade, Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and the city, officially opened the improved trail July 1.
The Friends of the Eastern Prom plan to introduce several new trail connections in the park along “wear paths,” friends President Diane Davison said. They chose to work on the Fort Allen cut-through first because of its popularity in the neighborhood, she said.
“We thought it was the best one to tackle first,” Davison said. “Portland Trails had it on their radar for a while, as well.”
For years, people have squeezed through an opening in the chain-link fence at Fort Allen Park to access the narrow and steep path down to the trail and waterfront. But the path also contributed to erosion problems and unsafe conditions, according to the 2004 Eastern Promenade Master Plan.
Davison said Jamie Parker and Charlie Baldwin of Portland Trails did a bulk of the work on the new trail. The granite used for the steps comes from recycled curbing and the trail was paid for through a $25,000 grant from the Maine Department of Conservation’s Recreational Trail Program.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad granted access over its rail line for the trail.
To mark the opening of the rebuilt path, city officials and parks and trails advocates held a ceremonial ripping down of the chain link fence.
Davison said Friends of the Eastern Promenade plan to hold a fundraiser in September to raise money for plantings along the trail.
For more information, go to friendsofeasternpromenade.org.