PORTLAND, Maine — For the second time in less than a month, city officials convened for a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon to launch the construction of a neighborhood recreation area.
This time Mayor Nicholas Mavodones and fellow City Councilor David Marshall — both of whom are among the 15 candidates on the ballot running for mayor — joined West End neighborhood residents to celebrate the renovation of a playground and park area on Taylor Street.
“We got a chance not too long ago to shovel some dirt for some courts in East Bayside,” Mavodones told the small crowd of neighbors and reporters on hand Thursday. “It’s great to do this in the West Side as well.”
The ceremony, coming on the heels of a Sept. 15 groundbreaking for new basketball courts attended by Boston Celtics forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, represented what Marshall described as a city push to renew small recreational spaces in the city’s numerous neighborhoods.
“Pocket parks like this play a huge role in our urban neighborhoods,” Marshall said, noting that the Taylor Street project serves as a model for other upgraded or newly created spaces elsewhere in the city.
The new playground will have a revamped basketball court, new seating area, new swings as well as upgrades to the existing playground equipment. The new playground, costing an estimated $83,000, will be funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the city’s Community Development Block Grant program and is expected to be complete late this fall, according to a city announcement issued this week.
The two new basketball courts also will be funded by $80,000 in HUD grant money channeled through the local CDBG program.