Love Portland

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. Trees are only planted during the months of May and June. The Forestry Division is only able to plant so many trees each year. 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.

  • World's Fair Benches are $3000 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 and are needed at Riverside Golf Course, Evergreen Cemetery and Payson Park Arboretum.
  • Contemporary Wood & Metal Benches are $2000 and are needed at Payson Park, Capisic Pond Park, Back Cove parking lot area, and Dougherty Field.
  • Drinking Fountain with Dog Basin are $6500 and are needed in Payson Park.
  • Antique Drinking Fountains are $6500 and are needed in Eastern Promenade and Western Promenade.


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

  • The Mitchell Kessler Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to families with children unable to afford programs offered by the Portland Recreation Department. The Fund will have a strong focus in the area of affording young teens participation in “The Apprentice” and “The Intern”, a two week summer internship program for future recreation counselors. The Mitchell A. Kessler Scholarship Fund will provide children the opportunity to participate in 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 Recreation Department. The Fund will have a strong focus in the area of helping children, age 4–17 years old, participate in our WeSkate Learn to Skate and WeSkate Figure Skating program. Lynda created this program under ISI (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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  1. Parks Commission

    EMail Parks Commission


    Cynthia Lobenstein, Chair
    Michael Mertaugh, V. Chair

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