ELLSWORTH, Maine — The fundraising effort to build a new city park in Ellsworth has kicked into high gear, and organizers say they’ve reached the halfway point in a sprint to raise $1.2 million.
The milestone was reached Sunday, when the Knowlton Community Park Campaign announced that The First Bankcorp had given a $50,000 challenge grant. Including the $220,000 or so already committed by the city, the total funds raised for the project has crossed $600,000.
The announcement was made at a kick-off event, marking the beginning of the public fundraising campaign. In recent months, the committee has focused on high-profile business and philanthropic donors. Now, Ellsworth residents will receive solicitations in their mailboxes in coming weeks, and the fundraising group will double down on its efforts with the general public.
The new park — complete with a fountain, pavilion, trails, amphitheater and a water play-area for kids — has been in the works for more than two years. City Manager Michelle Beal has said the park will be “usable and pretty, but not ostentatious.”
Fundraisers still need to net more than a half-million dollars before work on the park can begin. The committee is offering naming rights for key features planned for the park: For $100,000, a donor could have the park’s central fountain named in his or her honor. $50,000 will secure naming rights for the children’s water park, the pavilion or the amphitheater. A less-expensive option also is available for individuals and businesses, who can have their names inscribed on granite tiles ($1,000) or bricks ($300).
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.