Brunswick was recently awarded nearly $500,000 in federal funding for the new Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex, a move celebrated by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

The town on Thursday was approved for $492,137 from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to help pay the $1.67 million cost of the first phase of complex, which will feature eight pickleball courts, a skatepark and a walking trail in Brunswick Landing alongside the town’s Recreation Center.

Pingree is ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the National Park Service. She’s also a member of the Congressional Pickleball Caucus.

“It’s important that our towns embrace the positive health, social and community impacts of outdoor sports like pickleball, which is the fastest growing sport in America,” Pingree said in a statement. “With the addition of the Town of Brunswick’s Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex, Brunswick Landing will truly be a hub of innovation and community growth.”

A rendering of the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex. Courtesy of the Town of Brunswick

The town has ambitious plans for the recreation complex. Future phases call for an aquatics center, ice rink, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields and a playground. The complex is being built on a 10-acre parcel that was owned by the U.S. Navy when it operated the Brunswick Naval Air Station. The Navy agreed to hand the land over to the town on the condition it be used for recreation purposes.

“The MARC is a game-changer for our community in every way,” Sally Costello, Brunswick’s director of economic and community development, said in a statement. “The state-of-the-art municipal recreation complex will provide a variety of much-anticipated recreational uses that will have positive economic, health and wellness impacts for the Brunswick community and region.”

The Brunswick Town Council earlier this week approved a nearly 50% increase in the cost of the first phase of the complex, attributed to rising construction prices. The town is awaiting $125,000 more in Land and Water Conservation Fund money to help pay for the increase.

Construction on the first phase of the complex is expected to start in August and be completed by June 2024.

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