City officials will break ground Tuesday on a $600,000 renovation of Nason’s Corner Park, a 3.75-acre open space flanked by Capisic and Albion streets, the city said Monday.

Project leaders say the effort has been six years in the making and should be finished by the fall of 2014.

The current park is mostly open space, with two ball fields and two small play areas. The ball fields will remain and a larger multi-purpose play and learning area – including a hill slide, tunnel, climbing wall, stage, fort, group swings and play fields – will be created using natural materials.

“(The play area) is going to be bigger and more interactive without compromising the sports fields,” said Martha Thompson, the project’s outreach coordinator. The park will continue to be open to the public.

City officials, major donors and representatives from Portland Trails and the Nason’s Corner Neighborhood Association will celebrate the start of construction Tuesday using hand-painted shovels decorated by children from the nearby Breakwater School.

The project is being funded by a $250,000 challenge grant from the Griswold Family Foundation. Nearly $300,000 in private funds has already been raised.

The public-private partnership includes the Breakwater School, the city of Portland’s Department of Recreation and Facilities Management, the Neighborhood Association and the Portland Trails School Ground Greening Coalition.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings