Fort Allen Groundbreaking - Oct 2

A message from our Executive Director: We are pleased to announce that Fort Allen Park Rehabilitation project is underway! You may have noticed the orange fencing set up around the perimeter of the Park's boundaries. The entire Fort Allen Park area will become off limits beginning Monday morning September 30th when RE Coleman's construction crews complete securing the area with the closure of the horseshoe drive. For safety and liability reasons this section of the Eastern Promenade will remain closed through the winter months until our anticipated project completion time of June 30, 2014.

The official "Groundbreaking" Ceremony will take place at the top of Fort Allen - opposite Morning St - on Wednesday October 2, 2013 at 5 pm.

On Thursday morning crews will remove existing vegetation, including the remaining evergreen and crabapple trees. The trunks of the cedars, spruce and crabapples will be taken off site and stored at Evergreen Cemetery. There, local artisans who work with wood will be invited to select wood pieces for their designs.

Crews will work to disassemble the current lighting structures around the horseshoe drive and bury utilities before the snow flies. Sidewalk foundations may also get underway as will preliminary measures to re-align the loop road. The amount of work which will be completed this season will depend in part on Mother Nature.

We appreciate your patience while Fort Allen undergoes this historic transformation. We will have much to celebrate with the arrival of spring. Friends of the Eastern Promenade is now raising funds to assist with completing the project by refurbishing the two civil war cannons and the USS Maine cannon. The goal is to have the entire rehabilitation finished to celebrate the Bicentennial of Fort Allen next October 2014!

I hope you will join us and immediately following Groundbreaking - for our 5th Annual Meeting and election of Officers, Wednesday, October 2; 6-8pm at East End Community School.

Sincerely,

Diane signature

Diane Davison Executive Director

Restoration to begin at Fort Allen!

Thanks to the Forecaster for such great coverage! Article by William Hall

PORTLAND — Work could begin as soon as this week on a long-anticipated restoration of Fort Allen Park, the historic, five-acre open space adjoining the Eastern Promenade.

Plans approved last year by the city's Historic Preservation Board call for removing most of the park's evergreen and crabapple trees, which were not included in its construction more than a century ago. But the Mugo Pine, a tree often used as a "jungle gym" by neighborhood children, will remain, according to Diane Davison, executive director of the Friends of the Eastern Promenade.

Other trees and shrubs will be planted along the park's entrance and a network of pedestrian paths, which will closely follow their original routes. A path leading to the park's bandstand will be restored, and cobblestone gutters will be installed along the path and the the park's loop drive.

The project also includes repairs to the bandstand and Civil War cannons, and the addition of park benches and low-level bollard lights along the pathways. The overlook above Casco Bay will also be made handicapped-accessible.

Funded by private donations and more than $1 million in city funds, the project is expected to be complete by October 2014 – the bicentennial of Fort Allen, which was built to protect Portland Harbor during the War of 1812.

The park contains the berms of the fort as well as land acquired by the city during the 1890s. In succeeding years, the city added improvements, such as the bandstand, benches, walkways, the drive and the overlook.

Although listed today on the National Register of Historic Places, the park gradually fell into disrepair, with some paths being eliminated and the drive being rerouted.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.

Groundbreaking News: Fort Allen Updates

Dear Members, We are delighted to deliver groundbreaking news regarding the Fort Allen Rehabilitation Project. The bid award for Fort Allen has been granted and contract signed with RE Coleman of Westbrook with the pre-construction meeting scheduled for early next week. We will know more about the scheduling details for implementation of the plan following this critical meeting with the project team. Ground breaking may begin by end of next week.

Construction fencing to secure the project zone prior to any demolition will likely be the first step. For safety reasons, depending on project scheduling and Mother Nature, Fort Allen may remain off limits during the upcoming winter season.

Removal of the remaining evergreens within the horseshoe drive as well as the existing crabapples along the Southwest side of the roadway will be part of the initial work on site. Outreach efforts are underway to recycle some of the wood for donation to local artisans. The Mugo Pine which serves as a "Jungle Gym" for neighborhood children is planned to remain.

Landscape design features include restoring tree lined pedestrian circulation within the Park and along the Eastern Prom drive. New walkways will better support pedestrian flow and safety as well as incorporate the 911 Memorial, the USS Portland and Arctic Campaign Memorials.

Overhead street lights will be replaced with bollard lighting to illuminate pathways and utilities will be relocated underground.  Cobblestone gutters will be restored along the horseshoe drive and the central walkway leading from the Prom to the Bandstand will be replaced. The overlook to Casco Bay will be made handicap accessible thanks to funding thru Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

We appreciate your patience as this historic transformation unfolds and we will keep you informed as information becomes available regarding next steps on this significant project.

Stay tuned for more exciting details as the project unfolds! Please visit our website to learn more about the project.

Sincerely,

Diane signature

Diane Davison Executive Director

War of 1812 saga to be recounted on East End

Thanks to the Portland Daily Sun for your coverage!

Published Date Wednesday, 04 September 2013 20:52
Written by Staff Report

The story of Maine's greatest sea battle in the classic age of sail will be presented by former State Rep. Herb Adams at a special event sponsored by the Friends of the Eastern Prom this Thursday, Sept. 5. The group Roll N Go will present sea shanties and maritime music in honor of the 200th anniversary of the battle that pitted the HMS Boxer against the USS Enterprise in the War of 1812. The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the East End School Community Room, North Street, Portland, overlooking the bay that was home port to the USS Enterprise. The evening will be a kick-off event for a series of special 200th anniversary panels and ceremonies sponsored by the Maine Historical Society and the Maine Humanities Council. The event is to "celebrate our heritage, peel back some mysteries, and mark Maine's role on the world stage just at the dawn of Maine statehood. Both the United States and the not-yet state of Maine are on the edge of big things at that moment. And the battle of the Boxer v. the Enterprise makes for a rocking remarkable story," said Adams. The War of 1812 was a disaster for the young United States and the-then "District of Maine," still an unhappy part of Massachusetts, said Adams. "Every land battle was a disaster for the Americans. The British burned Washington, D.C., and the Americans burned down Buffalo, NY, themselves ," said Adams. "Boston abandoned Maine to the British, who seized all Maine east of the Penobscot River and planned to annex it to Canada as the "Province of New Ireland," where the Crown would settle Tories and the Irish — to the Brits, getting rid of two troubles at once," said Adams. Only at sea did the young United States show surprising muscle, in a series of ship-against-ship victories that made new frigates like the USS Constitution famous as "Old Ironsides" and made national heroes of navy commanders like Hull, Bainbridge and Stephen ("My Country Right or Wrong") Decatur. "Maine's greatest sea battle was between the HMS Boxer and the USS Enterprise off Monhegan on Sept. 5, 1813, a fierce fight in anyone's book," said Adams. Fought often less than 100 feet apart, "the two brigs were almost perfectly matched in size, number of guns, and number of crew, and captained by two young, ambitious men still in their late twenties," noted Adams. "The battle lasted barely 45 minutes, a literal barrage of red-hot iron, and the two young captains — Capt. Samuel Blyth of the HMS Boxer and Capt. William Burrows of the USS Enterprise — both fell in the first exchange of fire. The Enterprise emerged victorious, while the Boxer was in ruins, barely afloat." The bodies of both captains were returned to Portland, home port of the victorious USS Enterprise. Days later, Portland formally buried both men with colorful military honors side-by-side in Portland's Eastern Cemetery, where they still rest, and where ceremonies will be held again this Thursday, Sept. 5, 200 years later. "Equal honor was given to both victor and vanquished. Crews of both ships marched in the funeral procession. It was about the last time the words 'war' and 'chivalry' could appear in the same sentence, and still mean something," said Adams. The backstory of the battle includes young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the role of illicit smuggling by Maine's most powerful politicians, kept secret for 150 years, noted Adams. "There are surprises, twists and turns, valiant youths like Blyth and Burrows, and some other heroes and villains who are not at all what they seemed. History sometimes tries to keep its secrets," Adams said. Since 1813, all U.S. Navy vessels that have been named Enterprise are in honor of this Portland-based ship, said Adams. "Captain Kirk's and Mr. Spock's future starship owes its name to us in Casco Bay — yes, true!" said Adams. Adams' presentation will share the stage with Roll N' Go, the popular Maine-based presenter since 1990 of sea shanties and songs of Down East's maritime heritage. The group has authored several new songs in honor of the sea battle that will make their world premier in honor of the 200th anniversary . For more details contact Friends of The Eastern Prom at http://easternpromenade.org.

Toast of the Town

Hundreds gather for a Portland Greendrinks event to meet 'n greet, hoist a glass and support a worthy cause.

By MARGARET LOGAN

Portland Press Herald

It was the ideal setting for an after-work social networking event. Sure, the weather wasn't what it could have been, with a looming fog bank about to make landfall, threatening clouds overhead and a heavy dampness in the air, but when you are hanging out on East End Beach at the base of the Eastern Promenade in Portland with friendly dogs romping in the sand, boats sitting quietly at their moorings and, for that perfect finishing touch, a large tanker anchored in the middle of Casco Bay, one feels quite content.

Tim Stevenson, web developer at the VIA Agency, Josh Farrell-Starbuck of Portland, and Traci Greer, media supervisor at VIA

Melissa Anson of Maine Coastal Program, Rachel McDonald of Common Street Arts in Waterville, and Felicia Heider of the National Academy for State Health Policy.

Add to that 300 or more like-minded professionals who share an affinity for environmental and sustainability issues, and who gather on the second Tuesday of each month to grab a beer and chat with new people, all the while supporting a different local nonprofit each time, and you've got a winning combination.

"Once we started to get a critical mass of people, we wanted to do something positive with that energy," said Sean Sullivan, president of Portland Greendrinks, explaining how the nonprofit got its start here in Portland back in 2010. "It's really grown beyond the environmental piece, and it's become more about bringingyoung professionals and engaged, civic-minded people together to have a conversation."

"The following we have on social media is really strong," explained Ben McCormack, treasurer of Portland Greendrinks and organizer of this evening's festivities. "We're able to attract 350 to 450 people to every event, and we're able to generate good revenue for the nonprofits we support."

With a passing glance, one can't help but be amazed at not only the sheer number of people in attendance, but also how much fun everyone is having. People who seemed to know each other for ages could be heard introducing themselves in the middle of a conversation in the most genuine of ways.

"I'm new to the area, and it's a great way to meet people," said Felicia Heider, who works at the National Academy for State Health Policy in Portland.

Her friends Melissa Anson of Scarborough and Rachel McDonald couldn't have agreed more.

"It's also a nice way to get people to new places," said McDonald, who works at Common Street Arts in Waterville.

"Portland is a small town that knows what's going on," agreed Matt Dodge, a freelance writer and driver for Maine Pedicabs who attended with his friends Meg K. Walsh, a manager at Bayside Clay Center and Sam Cohen, who works at Rosemont Market "on the Hill," as he likes to say. "I've been to quite a few of these. It's a good chance to see everyone you know while supporting local business."

"It's a good vibe," said Josh Farrell-Starbuck, formerly of Barrington, R.I., and now a Portland resident. "It's comfortable."

Indeed. There is no pretense here. Nothing seems awkward or forced -- or especially polished, for that matter. Which is exactly why Portland Greendrinks is so important, perhaps, and so popular.

"It's an opportunity to meet someone new and talk with them," explained Traci Greer, a media supervisor at the VIA Agency in Portland. "It takes those barriers down."

"You mingle and meet new people," agreed Matt Scheumann, a colleague of Greer's at VIA. "but there is no pressure. Your arena is not, 'This is what I do for a living,' it's, 'This is what I do for fun."'

And fun was being had in spades. You see, part of the charm of the Portland Greendrinks experience is that each guest is asked to bring their own drinking vessels. And while mason jars and travel coffee mugs seemed to be most peoples' "vessel" of choice, it must be noted that a Smiling Hill Farm milk bottle was also spotted.

"We see ourselves as a portal, or a gateway," said Sullivan, looking out at the expanse of beach packed with guests, who on this night were there to lend support to Friends of the Eastern Promenade. "We want to connect people. Ourreal goal is to be a facilitator more than a destination."

Mission accomplished.

For more information about Portland Greendrinks, please visit www.portlandgreendrinks.com. For more information about Friends of the Eastern Promenade, please visit www.easternpromenade.org.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

mlogan@maine.rr.com

FoEP Names Our First Executive Director!

Diane Davison has been named the first Executive Director of the Friends of the Eastern Promenade.

Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY
Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY

Ms. Davison is a founding member of the organization and has served as President of the Board for several years. She also currently serves as Chair of the City of Portland Parks Commission.

Ms. Davison has been an involved community activist since moving to Munjoy Hill over 20 years ago. She has been an effective leader in many Eastern Promenade projects including; a revival of the Portland summer concert series, various trail improvement projects and the rehabilitation of Fort Allen Park.In 2013 she was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year by the State of Maine.  Friends of the Eastern Promenade, Vice President, George Campbell Jr., a former Mayor of Portland, said "The Board and I have been impressed with Diane's commitment to stewardship of this extraordinary property-The Eastern Promenade. We are confident that she will continue building on the excellent working relationships with City and State officials."

Clean Parks Campaign

WhoDungIt_CampaignPoster
WhoDungIt_CampaignPoster

Have you noticed the flags marking the mountains of doo that say "Who Dung It?". Be vigilant - if you see that someone has forgotten a bag to clean up after their pet, then offer them a hand. If there is a repeat offender, let us know and we can put you in touch with the park ranger to enforce city regulations in dog waste removal. Let's make sure that we all do our part in keeping our neighborhood park clean and beautiful for ALL users!

As our organization grows, we are making a concerted effort to care for all hilltop parks. Fort Sumner on North St is often decorated with Doggie Doo, so we are taking steps to mitigate this health hazard. Our summer concerts will be held here, and we do not want our neighborhood guests to suffer or our kids to become sick should they come in contact with feces.

Paving & Cutter Street Realignment Project

Due to rescheduling determinations elsewhere in the city, the Eastern Promenade roadway is undergoing preparations for paving earlier than anticipated.  Glidden Excavating & Paving is the contractor for MDOT on this paving job which is linked with the work being done to realign the Cutter Street entrance to the Park. The shim course shown above re-profiles the road, returns the crown and eliminates any dips or uneven surfaces prior to actual paving.

Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY
Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY

Next week crews will begin the actual work to realign the curbing at the entrance to Cutter St and along the Eastern Prom roadway. This work is among top public safety priorities within the Master Plan for the Eastern Promenade. The existing crosswalk at Cutter St is 100 ft in length - the longest in the city. Narrowing the pavement in this area will improve sight lines and make crossing the road safer for pedestrians. Realignment work is expected to take approximately 2 weeks. Paving crews will then return in August to do the actual paving of the E. Prom roadway.

While work is underway the project manager and crews will do their best to ensure traffic flow has as little interruption as possible while maintaining safety. Folks with driveways along the esplanade may experience a 5-10 minute delay in entering or exiting their driveways.  Once the paver goes by crews need to wait until the rollers go over the pavement before allowing vehicles to drive over the surface.  Temperatures also affect time frames.

This schedule is subject to change - depending on weather and other factors. Glidden is committed to being conscientious in ensuring minimal impact to residents and park users.

Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY
Frances Buerkens PHOTOGRAPHY
The narrowed roadway will slow traffic and enhance the Eastern Promenade.
The narrowed roadway will slow traffic and enhance the Eastern Promenade.

Loose Cannon! Restorative Vacation Begins

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 3.05.46 PM
Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 3.05.46 PM

The cannons which have graced Fort Allen for years - and for many, since their childhood, were removed on June 18. They will be temporarily "vacationing" with our Friends at Evergreen Cemetery before hitting the road to repair and restoration.

Three cannons were removed from Fort Allen Park Tuesday morning as the first step in the Fort Allen Rehabilitation effort.  Two 4.5 siege rifles and their carriages as well as the 6-inch gun from the USS Maine we're lifted into the air thanks to donated crane operations from Keeley Crane Service. We are also appreciative of support from City staff, who made this morning's transition possible! The carriages and wheels of the Siege Howitzers have deteriorated significantly. We will be launching a campaign to raise funds both privately and thru charitable gifts and grants to cover repair costs. Our goal is to return the refurbished cannons to the Park in time for the Bicentennial Celebration of Fort Allen in October 2014!

The sagging wooden carriages will be replaced, the barrels will be treated with industrial paint coating and corrosion removed. New bases will be installed to protect the cannons from further sinking into the ground and a long-term maintenance program established.

Removal of the two 4.5 inch siege rifles with their carriages and a 6 inch gun from the USS Maine marks the first step in what has been a 2 1/2 year journey in planning the restoration of Fort Allen Park!

To learn more about funding opportunities, please contact info@easternpromenade.org.

For photographs of the event, please visit WCSH6.

Fans of flowers can revel in upcoming events

PortlandDailySun5-23-farm-mkt-free.png

The weekly Portland Farmer's Market in Monument Square Wednesday was ablaze with color from floral stands. Flower and plant lovers can pencil in a couple of events over the next two months. Then, on Sunday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public can sign up for the Hidden Gardens of Munjoy Hill tour, to benefit Friends of the Eastern Prom. This self-guided walking tour of Munjoy Hill is held in conjunction with the Society of the East End Arts Open Studio Tour. For details, visit EasternPromenade.org or to buy tickets, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/379508.

For the full Portland Daily Sun article, follow this link.

FoEP Logo
FoEP Logo

Don McClean to Serenade Munjoy Hill on July 4th

Don_McLean_in_20121
Don_McLean_in_20121

Don McLean will sing his iconic song "American Pie" with backing from the Portland Symphony Orchestra as part of Portland's annual Fourth of July celebration on the Eastern Promenade. Organizers of the Stars and Stripes Spectacular are scheduled to announce McLean's appearance Tuesday morning at a news conference on the Eastern Prom.

McLean, 67, who lives in Camden, was "very accommodating" when contacted about singing at Portland's celebration, said Jon Jennings, president of July 4th Portland, the nonprofit group that runs the event.

An estimated 60,000 people have swarmed the Eastern Prom for a combination fireworks and concert show each of the past few years. The symphony has performed a concert synchronized to the fireworks every year since 2010, and Maine comedian Bob Marley has performed as well.

But having the creator of "American Pie" sing it on the anniversary of American independence may be the event's biggest moment yet.

"We're lucky to get this iconic American singer to sing one of the (most) popular songs of the last century," said Jennings.

McLean was not available to talk Monday about his appearance.

In addition to "American Pie," McLean will sing his 1972 hit "Vincent," a song about artist Vincent van Gogh that includes the repeated line "starry, starry night." He will perform with the symphony between 7:30 p.m. and the start of the fireworks, Jennings said. The symphony will then play marches once the fireworks begin.

The concert will be broadcast live on Portland radio station WHOM (94.9 FM).

July 4th Portland began organizing the city's Independence Day celebration in 2010, when an annual fireworks show was cut from the city budget and private companies stepped forward to provide funding.

For the full Kennebec Journal article, follow this link.

City Council Bans Smoking in Portland Parks

PORTLAND – The City Council on Monday voted to ban smoking in 36 city parks and open spaces, including Monument Square. The ban is intended to protect people from second-hand smoke, said City Councilor Edward Suslovic, who leads the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee.

"The purpose of this is not to punish smokers," Suslovic said. "The purpose of this is to protect nonsmokers from exposure to second-hand smoke."

The ban, which takes effect March 6, does not apply to sidewalks abutting the parks outlined in the city code, but it does apply to benches within those parks.

Smoking is already prohibited within 20 feet of playgrounds, beaches and athletic fields, including the Riverside Golf Course.

The ordinance bans smoking in parks where a permit is required for a public function, such as Tommy's Park, Post Office Park, Monument Square, Deering Oaks park and Lincoln Park.

Smoking also will not be allowed on the Eastern or Western promenades.

Other popular spots that will be affected include Baxter Woods, Bell Buoy Park, Capisic Pond Park, Lobsterman Park, Longfellow Square, Payson Park and University Park.

The ban also applies to Oat Nuts Park, Heseltine Park and Presumpscot River Preserve, the Valley Street and Quarry Run dog parks, and others.

For the full Portland Press Herald article, follow this link. 

Come Caroling with Us!

Meet at the Fort Allen Bandstand4:30-6:00 p.m. on December 15

Please join us for a favorite holiday tradition as we go caroling along the Prom and Munjoy Hill. Carolers will meet at the Fort Allen Park bandstand just in time for the Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Sheet music will be provided, so never mind if you can't remember all the lyrics to "Silver Bells".

We'll begin by crooning carols as boats adorned with sparkling lights cruise the harbor. Next, we'll meander into the Munjoy Hill neighborhood to serenade our friends and neighbors. Afterwards, we'll gather at a private home of a welcoming FoEP member to warm up and enjoy refreshments. Bring a flashlight to read the music and wear warm clothes.

Watch this lovely video from last year's cheerful caroling crowd!