Easton park should be completed by fall

1 year ago

EASTON, Maine — Prestile Community Park is on track to be completed by October, according to Easton Town Manager Jim Gardner.

Mild weather allowed crews to continue renovation work into December.

The improvements will not only beautify the area, but make it more accessible for users of all ages. People will have easier access to the wildlife and pond areas, Gardner said.

“This is to be a family park where anybody can come down and use the pavilion for family reunion type [events],” he said.

Students from the Francis Malcolm Science Center can use the area for projects by the stream, and high school students will have better access for environmental projects, Gardner said.

The town applied for a $139,750 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to cover roughly half of the $279,500 park project, which included a proposal to renovate the skating rink building built in 1973. They received the grant last February.

The Prestile Park Renovation Committee formed in 2019 and includes Recreation Director Hillary Hallett, Town Clerk Cheryl Clark and Gardner, along with Easton residents Marcel Chalou, Matt Hopkins and Derek Carlow. 

Committee members launched a fundraising campaign that raised around $100,000 in donations, including contributions of $10,000 from McCain Foods, Huber Engineered Woods, and $17,000 from the Rodney and Mary Barton Smith Family Foundation, Gardner said. A 2021 fundraising barbecue raised $3,900 and numerous people also donated.

The Easton Highway Department came in and cleared all the excess vegetation for Prestile Park.

Renovations so far have included putting in a new pavilion, featuring a handicapped bathroom and kitchenette for hosting family outings, and a waterfront berm to keep geese out of the picnic area, Gardner said.

In May 2022, Easton cleaned up the community park by tearing out the old equipment with benches and canopies that had rotted out, he said. The Environmental Protection Agency oversaw the cleanup to make sure no contaminants were left behind.

Lark Landscaping from Bar Harbor built the 125-by-12-foot berm last summer, and Presque Isle’s PNM Construction completed the pavilion last November.

The town plans to finish the park by fall, and this year will add a new sewer leach field, playground with around $58,000 worth of equipment, and a picnic canopy with tables and grills. Benches will be set along the pond for fishing as well, the town manager said.

The water and sewer system should be done this spring. The town has put the playground equipment out to bid. Those materials are required to be supplied by June 1, 2023, along with a technician to supervise the construction process.

“We got the big stuff out of the way, all but the playground equipment,” Gardner said. “That’s the only big lift left.”