For decades, people have laced up their skates and taken to the ice-covered pond at Deering Oaks in Portland.

But ice skating won’t be permitted at the park this winter so construction crews can rebuild the bottom of the pond.

The $1 million project won’t be completed until the spring, probably April at the earliest, Portland’s Athletic Facilities manager said Monday.

Workers will partially fill the 3.5-acre pond off State Street with gravel and then install a concrete mat over that, Ethan Owens said. The reinforced bottom will make it easier for heavy equipment to enter the pond to remove leaves, trash and muck.

“They need time to do the work and this is a good time,” Owens said. “I just didn’t want the public to think that we were going to flood the pond for ice skating. Historically, it has been a popular place for ice skating.”

Though the Deering Oaks pond won’t have ice skating this winter, Owens said the city is offering several other spots.


Ice skating is available at Payson Park, the Ludlow Street pond near Deering High School, the Breakwater School pond at Nason’s Corner and the Riverside Golf Course.

The 54-acre Deering Oaks park, situated between Deering and Forest avenues, was acquired by the city more than 130 years ago. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1996, the pond served as the setting for an ice skating scene in the “The Preachers Wife,” a film starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington.


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