WATERVILLE— Friends of Green Street Park have raised $10,000 for fitness stations to be placed at Green Street Park in Waterville’s South End neighborhood. The community donations include several memorial donations that will be used for benches and trees to line the walking path around the outer rim of the park.

The parents of Jackie Dupont, a co-founder of the all-volunteer run Friends of Green Street Park and former City Councilor for W7, which encompasses the South End, provided the 1:1 matching funds if $5,000 was raised from Sept. 1 through Nov. 15. They were inspired by the work done with the community on the Ralph M. Merrow Children’s Stage to provide matching funds, explaining that they “fell in love with the historic background of the South End, and the natural beauty of the neighborhood along the Kennebec River,” according to a news release from Rien Finch.

Green Street Park is located along Water Street, across from the Hathaway Building parking lot, just behind Pete’s Pig restaurant. Friends of Green Street Park was formed in 2014 to coordinate community partners and raise funds to revitalize the park, which includes the popular Sherwin Hill sledding hill during the winter. The improvements to the park since 2014 include a new walking path, safety lighting, a bike shed, a children’s stage, and two pieces of exercise equipment. The final goal for the park includes nine to 10 pieces of exercise equipment, new playground equipment, and a revamped skate park.

This current revitalization stage of the park centers around two components, beautifying the park and installing more exercise equipment. The park beautification will add some shrubbery to the bike shed, flowers by the children’s stage, and memorial benches and trees. Several members of the Rapela-Heidt families donated in memory of Grace and Arthur Heidt, Edward and Raymond Rapela, and William “Bill” Heidt. One family donor, Larry Heidt, said of the donation from him and his wife, “We feel very strongly that wonderful projects like this park are essential to their communities, and we are grateful that we are blessed to be able to invest in the South End community,” according to the release. An additional donation from a private donor for a bench was made in memory of Anthony Nguyen. In total, the memorial donations will add three benches and two trees to the park.

The second, bigger component of the current revitalization phase will add to the two pieces of exercise equipment currently in the park, which are a five-person push-up bar and a set of balance steps with accompanying handrail. The new $10,000 investment will purchase two to three additional pieces. There are three sections highlighted for “pods” of two to three pieces along the park’s perimeter. The current pod is near the base of Sherwin Hill, to one side of the skate pad. Another pod location has been sourced between the skate pad and the children’s stage, with a third pod location near the Green Street dead end that leads into the park.

The Dupont family has offered a 2:1 match if another $5,000 can be raised before March 1, 2021, to fund the remaining exercise equipment, and complete the three pods, saying, “We envision that this family oriented neighborhood will continue to thrive and blossom with these investments, and we hope to see more events at the park, perhaps a Green Street Park Kite and Color Festival?” according to the release.

Donations are encouraged to be made through the KVCAP donation portal  or paper checks may be sent to KVCAP at 101 Water St. in Waterville, ME 04901, with Green Street Park in the memo line. KVCAP acts as the fiscal agent for Friends of Green Street Park and all donations are tax-deductible. Anyone wishing to make a memorial donation should contact Friends of Green Street Park directly via their Facebook page.

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