About

Founded in 2006, Friends of the Eastern Promenade is the leading voice for Portland’s signature park. We are guided by the Eastern Promenade Master Plan, adopted by the City of Portland in 2004. The Plan aims to protect the significant historic assets of the Eastern Promenade, while accommodating the existing and evolving needs of this popular public recreation space––all while remaining true to the vision of its original designers, the Olmsted Brothers firm.

As an independent, community-supported organization, Friends of the Eastern Promenade has the capacity and commitment to accomplish goals that the City cannot achieve on its own. We work in partnership with the City of Portland––not to replace but to enhance the park’s municipal support.

Diversity of the founding board members was instrumental to organizational success and continues to be a guiding principle today.

Every great park deserves good Friends.

This is what Friends are for: Waterfront access. Summer concerts. Garden tours. Fort Allen Park restoration. April Stools Day & Community Cleanup. East End boat storage. Perennial beds. Trail maintenance. Interpretive displays. 

Accomplishments & Timelines

2006: Friends of the Eastern Promenade (FoEP) founded as outgrowth of City's Master Plan for the park
2007: April Stools Day & Community Cleanup adopted (established 1993)
2008: Care & maintenance of Eastern Promenade’s historic perennial beds assumed
2008: Hidden Gardens of Munjoy Hill walking tour adopted (established in 2005)
2008: Naturalized areas implemented within the 68-acre park
2009-2010: Fort Allen & Loring Memorial Trails created in collaboration with Portland Trails & City of Portland
2010: East End Beach boat storage expansion initiated
2011: Bicentennial & Beyond Initiative (BCI) established, a capacity-building fundraising effort
 

2011: Cutter Street intersection realignment advocated for, to improve safety for pedestrians and vehicles
2011: Summer Community Concert Series began at Fort Allen Park
2011-2016: Restored Fort Allen Park to its 1890 to 1930 period of historical significance
2014: Bicentennial of Fort Allen Park celebrated
2014-2016: Interpretive panels research and creation for Fort Allen Park, installed June 2016
2015-present: Jacob Cousins Memorial renovation campaign initiated, intersection of Eastern Promenade Drive and Cutter Street
2015-present: East End Waterfront Access Project launched, to improve safety for non-motorized watercraft at East End Beach
2016: Greater Portland Landmarks' Preservation Leader Award and Restoration Project Award for Fort Allen Park 

The Eastern Promenade

The Eastern Promenade was designed in 1905 by the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm, renowned for creating New York's Central Park and the Boston Commons. Today, the 68-acre historic landscape on the northeastern slope of Munjoy Hill (east end of Portland peninsula) offers unparalleled views of Casco Bay and Portland Harbor, as well as abundant opportunities for public recreation and enjoyment in all four seasons. 

"The Eastern Promenade has a more beautiful outlook than any other vacant space in the city and should be preserved as an open space." -William Goold, Portland historian, 1883 

The two-mile Eastern Promenade Trail is Portland’s finest harbor-side stroll. It begins in downtown Portland and connects to the Back Cove Trail and Bayside Trail. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad runs along the edge of the Eastern Promenade with special trains all season.

  • The Eastern Promenade is dog friendly, with an off leash area next to Fort Allen Park and East End Beach. See Dog Rules + Regulations.
  • Public transportation – Metro buses #1 and #8 to Eastern Promenade.
  • A history of the park is available at Master Plan for the Eastern Promenade.
  • The East End beach is situated off Eastern Promenade and Cutter Street, and is a popular destination for recreational activities including swimming, sunning, kayaking, rowing or just making sand castles. Facilities include a public boat launch, a boat mooring field, public restrooms and changing areas.

There are tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, a playground, and multi-use trails that snake alongside the shoreline. It’s a popular spot for picnics, frisbee, kite flying, walking, running, biking, winter sledding, marathons, fundraising walks, swimming events and band concerts. All activities add life and joy to the park.

History of the park

In Portland’s early years, the slopes of the Eastern Promenade served as a scenic grazing ground for cattle. Then in 1837, the City constructed a roadway along the Promenade from Fore Street to Washington Avenue. Development proposals followed. The City didn’t own the land on the ocean side of the roadway, with its prime views of Casco Bay and the harbor, and by the early 1880s the Fort Allen site was being considered for a hotel.

Fortunately for generations of Portlanders to come, local historian William Goold began garnering support for open space preservation on the Eastern Promenade. The City purchased the Fort Allen site in 1890 for use as a public park; it was followed by the acquisition of more land, initiated by Mayor James P. Baxter. In 1905, the City acquired 21 acres of open space on the ocean side of the Promenade and commissioned the Olmsted Brothers firm to design a plan for the park. 

In 1989, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In 2004, the City mandated preparation of a master plan for the Eastern Promenade, along with a program to encourage community support, advocacy and public education.

As stated in the 2004 Eastern Promenade Master Plan, “A Friends Group for Eastern Promenade would be the primary advocacy voice to insure funds are dedicated to the care and improvement of the park.” Friends of the Eastern Promenade was founded in 2006.

Staff

Diane Davison
Executive Director
diane@easternpromenade.org

Jessica Siraco
Marketing & Development Coordinator
jessica@easternpromenade.org   

Officers

Matthew Kennedy
President
matthew@easternpromenade.org  

Shawnee Sax
Vice President

Courtney Francis
Treasurer
treasurer@easternpromenade.org

Brandon Mazer
Secretary


Board of Directors

Cynthia Murray-Beliveau
Katie Brown
Nan Cumming
Courtney Francis
Joyce Wethington Knight

Zach Anchors
Aynne Doil
Dan Haley, Jr.
Tom Leonhardt
Peter O'Donnell

Mary Noyes
Sharon A. Sudbay
William Jabine III
Carolyn Young
Caron Zand
 


Meetings are held 6:00-7:30 pm on the first Tuesday of even months. 

All members of the community are welcome to attend our board and committee meetings. 

Join us at:

Hill House
Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization (MHNO)
92 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101


Committees

The 2017 Board of Directors were recently sworn in at our annual meeting. Following tradition, each board member will serve on one or more committees as part of their contribution to the organization. Committee chair and other committee designations will be established soon.

Executive Committee
Matthew Kennedy, Chair
Courtney Francis
Dan Haley
William Jabine
Brandon Mazer
Shawnee Sax

Development Committee
Caron Zand, Chair
Sharon Sudbay, Chair
Cynthia Murray-Beliveau
George Campbell
Nan Cumming
Ed Gardner
Brandon Mazer

Governance Committee
Dan Haley, Chair
Katie Brown
Nan Cumming
Thomas Leonhardt
Mary Noyes
Shawnee Sax

Programs & Project Committee
Joyce Wethington Knight, Chair
Zack Anchors
Aynne Doil
Courtney Francis
Matthew Kennedy
Brandon Mazer
Carolyn Young


Marketing & Communication Committee
Carolyn Young, Chair
Zack Anchors

Finance Committee
William Jabine, Chair
Courtney Francis
Matthew Kennedy
Peter O'Donnell

Courtney Francis                                                                       

Dan Haley

William Jabine

Brandon Mazer 

Shawnee Sax 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing & Communication Committee
Carolyn Young, Chair
Zack Anchors

Garden Committee
Aynne Doil, Chair 

Community Partners

The links below will connect you with some of the nonprofits that form Friends of the Eastern Promenade's network of "friends."