Portland’s parks and open spaces are a treasure – an important element of who we are. They anchor Portland’s spectacular natural setting and offer repose and recreation for the population of Maine’s largest city and for her many visitors.

    Of all the cities in the United States, none can compete with Portland’s unique natural setting – overlooking the beauties of Casco Bay, her islands and seaway to the East, and the White Mountains to the West. Portland’s parks ensure that these priceless vistas can be enjoyed by present and future generations of Portland residents and visitors. Portland’s parks did not just happen. They resulted from the vision, dedication, and generosity of many Portland residents and friends over the past two centuries. Public support for parks and open spaces is organized through the Parks Commission and the many Friends groups for Portland’s parks and open spaces. Actual implementation of parks improvements is managed by the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities. These contributions act as an important supplementary roles in making Portland's parks as special as they are today. 

    There are several ways that you can contribute to the improvement of Portland’s parks, either through contributions for specific park amenities or support for recreational programs. All gifts are tax deductible. Contributions are welcome in the following categories:

    Trees: In the mid 19th century, Portland’s abundance of trees gave it a reputation as “the Forest City” of Maine. Public contributions of forested land – including Deering Oaks Park, Payson Park, and Baxter Woods – have helped reinforce that reputation. Trees play an important role in making Portland pedestrian-friendly and inviting for residents and visitors. The city is carrying out an ongoing program of tree planting, but constraints on budget funding limit the number of trees that can be planted under that program each year. Public contributions allow additional trees to be planted. An individual contribution of $400 finances the planting of an additional tree – beyond that provided in the city’s budget-financed planting program -- in a designated park or public space.

    Due to the fact that trees are needed in various locations and that staff are only permitted to plant so many trees between May and June per year, the City Arborist will contact you regarding location and time of which you can expect the tree to be planted. If you purchase trees and we are unable to plant them in the current year, you would be placed on the list for the following year. 

    Park Furniture: Public contributions are also welcome for park benches and water fountains. Recognition of the name of each donor or memorialized individual is provided on an attached plaque. Three options for park benches and two options for drinking fountains are available:

    • World's Fair Benches are $3000 each and are specifically needed at Baxter Boulevard/Back Cove, Deering Oaks Park, Easter Promenade, Evergreen Cemetery, Fessenden Park, Stroudwater Parks, Western Promenade and Vendor Row.
    • Granite Benches are $1000 each and are needed at Riverside Golf Course, Evergreen Cemetery and Payson Park Arboretum.
    • Contemporary Wood & Metal Benches are $2000 each and are needed at Payson Park, Capisic Pond Park, Back Cove parking lot area, and Dougherty Field
    • Drinking Fountains with Dog Basin are $6500 each and are needed in Payson Park.
    • Antique Drinking Fountains are $6500 each and are needed in the Eastern Promenade and Western Promenade.


    Youth Recreational Programs: Another valuable area for public support is recreational programs for children who would not otherwise be able to participate in Portland’s recreational programs. The following 

    • The Mitchell Kessler Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to families with children unable to afford programs offered by the Portland Recreation Division. These are programs that Mitchell both participated in as a young child and worked in as an adult. Given Mitchell’s enthusiasm for recreation, sports, education, and his zest for life, this Fund will honor his passion, spirit and memory.
    • The Lynda J. Hathaway Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to Portland children whose families are unable to afford skating programs offered by the Portland Recreation Division. The Fund will have a strong focus in the area of helping children, age 4–17 years old, who participate in our WeSkate Learn to Skate and WeSkate Figure Skating program. Lynda created this program under the Ice Skating Industry who encourages participation in ice skating as a recreational sport and provides ice skating programs for all ages and abilities. For more information, CLICK HERE.

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