South Portland skate park is ‘frustratingly’ close to fundraising goal

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In this rendering of the planned skate park, the South Portland Community Center is across the street at the top of the image, and the high school is to the right. Contributed / Pillar Design Studios

The South Portland Skate Park committee is $45,000 short of the $500,000 needed to begin construction on the project off Evans Street.

The committee negotiates the lowest build bid, which went over budget, and strives to innovate the skate park at the end of the summer. The 10,000 square foot skate park, planned for a site between the South Portland Community Center and the high school, has been in the works for five years.

“It feels good to be so close,” said committee member Jeff Woodbury. “But it gets really frustrating because we’re so close and the big issues have come up.”

The “big stuff” includes increased construction costs due to supply chain and other issues brought on by the pandemic.

The committee received three bids for the project and all were well received.

“All bids exceeded our current budget, so we continue to fundraise while negotiating with our lowest bidder, American Ramp Company, to see if we can complete the project within budget without altering the design of the park” , committee member and Anthony Johnson, the city’s recreation operations manager, said in an email to The Forecaster.

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The city contributed $250,000 to the project and included an additional $85,000 in the proposed city budget for fiscal year 2023.

Much of the committee’s fundraising has been through events and partnerships with local businesses.

High Roller Lobster sent a food truck to a committee-sponsored Skate Jam last August and donated its profits. They plan to partner with another fundraising event this spring.

“They help donate the profits to us, which is great,” Woodbury said. “They show up, they help us – and they have food.”

Lincoln & Main Electric Bike Café & Winery and Willows Restaurant have also been great local partners, Woodbury said, with more fundraising events and support on the horizon. Additionally, The Savage Family Turkey Trot 5K Run last November donated $12,000 in proceeds to the skate park project.

Although the road has been long and difficult, the committee is proud of the hard work it has done to turn an idea into a nearly fully funded project.

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“They’ve done an awful lot of work,” Woodbury said of his fellow committee members.

To donate, visit the South Portland Skatepark Project fundraising page at 4giving.com.

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