CARIBOU, Maine — Contractors with Soderberg Construction began digging the foundation for a new park across the street from Teague Park’s former location on Bennett Drive last week. The construction of this park, and another small park on Main Street, are part of a $50 million Pre-K through eight school project funded primarily by the Maine Department of Education.
During the planning phase of the new school projects, architects conducted a study analyzing several potential locations for the facility and ultimately decided to place it where Teague Park formerly stood.
Though this spot scored highest in several areas based on their standards, constructing a school there requires school officials to relocate the park to another location based on National Park Service standards, as the parcel was gifted to the city and receives federal protection via the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The result is that the new park will be moved across the road and essentially include all of the offerings of the old one, including a softball field, a park building, four basketball courts, and two tennis courts.
Next year, Marquis said a splash pad will be added to the new Bennett Drive park.
“It’s going well,” said Caribou Parks and Recreation Superintendent Gary Marquis. “They just dug a new foundation for the new park building. And we met with some inspectors on Monday to look over some topsoil and they’re going to start screening that. They’re also putting in all the underdrain for the softball field, so things are progressing.”
In order to meet NPS standards for equivalent land size and value in the park transition, the Parks and Rec Department will also build an additional, smaller park on Main Street at the former Sincock Administrative Building location.
“Soderberg tore the building down for the city at no cost, leveled the ground off and seeded everything down,” Marquis said. “Now it’s our responsibility to turn it into a park per the parameters of the National Park Service.”
He said the department is considering turning the area on Main Street where the Sincock Administration Building formerly stood into a dog park, something he and other city officials have been discussing for several years.
“There is a need for a dog park in the city,” he said, “and we’ll be doing all the work of installing fencing and putting up obstacles for the dogs. That project is slowly progressing, not as fast as I’d like because we’ve got so many other irons in the fire, but a brand new school and park are going to be a nice addition to the community.”