Construction on the new Windham skate park is underway. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — Nearly 3½ years after deteriorating and inadequate equipment forced the closure of the town’s skate park, town officials are confident that history won’t repeat itself when a new skate park opens in a few weeks.

The old skate park, which was built in the 1990s, was closed in April 2016 due to rotting of the wooden equipment, as well as the accumulation of debris and trash. It was reopened in November 2016, but the wooden structures still required more maintenance than a concrete skate park would.

“A wooden park in Maine is difficult to keep up,” said Parks and Recreation Director Linda Brooks.

A concrete skate park is in the process of being built on the 13-acre property it shares with the Windham Public Safety Building, 375 Gray Road.

Brooks believes that this time, the site will be kept clean because it will be home to “more different types of users.”

In addition to a skate park, there will be sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, walking trails and a playground constructed in several stages over the next few years.

The park’s users will be “stewards of their space,” Brooks said, and there will be “more people there using it for varied reasons” than there used to be.

The town also has a seasonal park ranger available from May through October who will spend some time at the park.

Nearly half of the project is being paid for by a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and Brooks recently applied for another grant through the fund. The town must pay for the rest, and much of that funding is coming from the Recreational Impact Fee Account. The town is also considering other fundraising opportunities.

The park will be completed in the coming weeks. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

In addition, any residents who would like to donate to the park can do so through a dedicated reserve fund that has been set up for the project.

We’re going to need a lot more donations and community help for this project, which is the great thing about Windham. The community really does come together to make things like this happen,” said Chairman of the Parks and Rec Advisory Committee Pat Moody. 

American Ramp Company recently began constructing the park, and Brooks estimated that it will be completed in the next few weeks, although she does not yet have an official opening date.

Next year, work will begin on the other amenities at the park.

The town is also considering building a community center, and Moody said there is a need for both in town.

With both projects currently in the works, he said, “it’s exciting times.”

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