OAKLAND — Town officials say a park that opened over the summer and another one planned for next year are part of an effort to increase recreational opportunities and improve the quality of life for Oakland residents.

Oakland Overlook Park, which spans more than two acres and opened earlier at 8 Smithfield Road, a hilltop near the center of town, provides covered picnic areas, colorful Adirondack chairs and a view of the western Maine mountains.

“Every time I go by, I see a car or two looking out. It’s just a cool spot for people to reflect,” Eric Seekins, director of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, said Monday. “It’s not spiritual, but to me, nothing beats a good view, and I think other people feel the same way.”

Traffic passes the entrance Monday to what is to become the Wrigley Recreational Area at 148 Fairfield St. in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

For the past 18 months, town employees have been working to clear the property of debris and build it up, using 15,000 yards of fill donated from a nearby Central Maine Power Co. project.

“We had to haul a lot of stuff to the transfer station,” Town Manager Gari Bowman said. “(The property) was a hole that we had to fill in.”

The town acquired the property after the previous owner failed to pay taxes on it.


The property had long been a trouble spot for the town, so when the opportunity arose to acquire and improve the parcel, the town jumped at it, Bowman said.

Most of the money and supplies came from donations from nonprofit groups, including the Kingdom of Life Church, which donated the Adirondack chairs, and the Sunrise Rotary Club.

Adirondack chairs are among the amenities at Oakland Overlook Park on Smithfield Road in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

David Hallowell donated materials from his construction company and several people contributed private donations. Only about $2,500 from taxpayers was used on the property, according to officials.

“It’s been an all-hands-on-deck project,” Seekins wrote in an email.

A ceremony is planned for the spring. There are also plans to create a community garden and a sign is being made by Oakland-based Leighton Sign Works to indicate which mountains can be seen in the view.

The mountains include Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Crocker, Abraham and Bigelow, according to Seekins.


Plots for the community garden will be available for a fee for those who grow some of their own food.

“It’s been well-received,” Seekins said of the park. “We took an unsightly property and really made it an attractive one.”

He said the Parks and Recreation Department’s goal is to improve the quality of life in Oakland.

“We are always looking to add things that better our community,” he said.

His department is now focused on planning for the development of a 27-acre property at 148 Fairfield St. Work is set to begin next summer to turn the site into the Wrigley Recreational Area. Trails, a parking lot and electricity to the site are planned, but nothing has been finalized.

Traffic passes Oakland Overlook Park on Monday on Smithfield Road in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“Everyone’s just spitballing now to come up with ideas,” Seekins said, adding the town hopes one day to hold its annual summer celebration, Oakfest, at Wrigley.


Oakland residents approved the $75,000 purchase of the property at this year’s Town Meeting. The property was purchased from people who have a connection to former Town Councilor Byron Wrigley, and they wanted to ensure something was created in his honor at the site, Seekins said.

Oakland has three other parks. Seekins has overseen the establishment of each park during his 30 years with the town.

Pleasant Point Park was acquired in 1999 and features a boat launch and baseball field.

The Messalonskee Stream Trail was built in 2006-07, and the Oakland Waterfront Park on Messalonskee Lake has gazebos and hosts a summer concert series.

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