The city of South Portland has signed a conservation easement creating the community’s newest park, which is located on the corner of Main and Westbrook streets on the western end of the city.

The official creation of Sawyer Park ends a long-running controversy in South Portland about what would become of the 2.3-acre city property.

A proposal for the commercial development of the site, from a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner, brought together local green space advocates and members of the adjacent Congregation Bet Ha’am synagogue, who argued that the lot should be permanently preserved as open space.

The terms of the easement “ensure that the property (will) remain protected as an open space and public park,” the South Portland Land Trust said in a recent Facebook post.

Sharon Newman, of Congregation Bet Ha’am and a strong supporter of the project, was there to witness the historic event, saying, “This is an excellent example of collaboration between public, private and nonprofit organizations.”

Congregation Bet Ha’am has worked closely with the city and the land trust to preserve the green space. To support the effort, the congregation has donated $100,000 toward the initial development of the park and for park maintenance.

Lisa Munderback, past-President of the congregation, who is also a resident of South Portland, said, “The congregation is thrilled to see this conservation easement become a reality and we look forward to the future development of Sawyer Park.”

Recently the city of South Portland signed a conservation easement for the community’s newest park – Sawyer Park – at the corner of Main and Westbrook streets. On hand, from left, were Sharon Newman, of Congregation Bet Ha’am, Steve Jocher, president of the South Portland Land Trust, and City Manager Jim Gailey.

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