Offering a family-friendly atmosphere, trampoline parks are a trendy new way for kids of all ages to be physically active and have fun.

Although two trampoline parks operate in Maine, including one in Portland, the concept is a new one to South Portland. Now, local entrepreneur Anthony Dill plans to open the state’s first Urban Air Trampoline Park franchise sometime this fall at the former Marshalls department store at Clarks Pond.

Dill has a long-term lease for the 31,000-square-foot space, which also includes a mezzanine level. The property is owned by longtime developer Joseph Soley.

Several large retail spaces have sat empty at Clarks Pond after Bob’s Discount Furniture, HomeGoods and Marshalls all moved out last year, leaving the Cinemagic Grand movie theater and a couple of smaller stores to anchor the commercial development located off Gorham Road.

In addition to Urban Air, the Eastpoint Christian Church in Portland is also planning a move to Clarks Pond after purchasing the adjacent 92,000-square-foot space earlier this year.

Eastpoint hopes to include an indoor soccer field, a 1,500-seat auditorium, a cafe, a commercial kitchen and more, as well as a sanctuary, to make the church more like a community center, according to Scott Taube, the lead pastor.

The attractions at Urban Air include a foam pit, trampoline dodgeball, a trampoline runway, the Slam Dunk Track, a toddler jump and more, according to the company’s website.

In addition, Dill said, he and his wife, Staci, who will co-own the facility, plan to add a cafe offering items like pizza, French fries, mozzarella sticks and cold drinks, along with various seating areas and an adult lounge with free Wi-Fi.

Like at other Urban Air parks around the country, Dill said, the one in South Portland will also offer special events, including dodgeball nights, fitness classes, team events, teen nights, school fundraisers, corporate team-building and birthday parties.

Josh Reny, South Portland’s assistant city manager and economic development director, said the new Urban Air “is a wonderful proposed use for that space. It will attract many people from throughout the region to South Portland, which will likely create some economic spillover to other local businesses.”

Overall, he said, “It will be a great addition to the mix of retail and (other) services in the mall area.”

Dill said he and his wife began to seriously consider starting up a trampoline park franchise about 20 months ago, after visiting one out of state with their two teenage boys.

“We just thought it was really neat and a really cool activity for kids of all ages and ability,” Dill said this week. “It’s a way for them to have fun and not even know they’re exercising at the same time.”

The Dills began to research the options. Anthony Dill said they went with Urban Air because “we hit it off with them right away and just loved the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of the corporate team.”

The next closest Urban Air Trampoline Park is in Connecticut, Dill said, adding that the South Portland location would be one of the company’s biggest facilities.

He said work is moving forward at a furious pace to get the new Urban Air ready to open and while “there’s still a lot of work to do, we hope to be open within the next 60 days. Definitely sometime this fall.”

Dill, who will oversee the day-to-day operations, hasn’t started hiring yet, but anticipates having available positions for between 45 and 60 mostly part-time employees.

He has already reached out to a number of local fitness centers and plans on reaching out to local schools and corporate offices in the region, as well, in order “to really maximize what we are trying to do and to build some synergy in the community.”

Dill called the former Marshalls building a “perfect fit,” saying it was difficult to find “the right amount of footage in a quality spot,” but that the available space at Clarks Pond fit the bill, including offering ample parking for visitors.

“We lucked out finding this spot,” he added, while noting that 370,000 people live and work “within 15 minutes of us.” The whole goal in picking just the right spot, Dill said, was “to ensure a good experience for everyone.”

A closer look

See the Urban Air Trampoline & Adventure Park South Portland page on Facebook for more information and updates about the new jumping experience coming to South Portland this fall.

An overview of the Urban Air Trampoline Park in Oakland County, Michigan. A similar facility is coming to South Portland sometime this fall.