Presumpscot Pond is one of five skating ponds in Portland and it will remain a skating pond and used for storm water management thirty-five neighbors were told at a public meeting in response to complaints lodged with various offices at city hall. “There will be no changes here,” Ethan Hipple, Director of Parks, told them at the end of a special meeting last week to clarify a controversy that had developed over the city’s draining of a pond behind Deering High School. The draining was justified by Hipple in order to rid the Pond of growth in order to fill it up again for skating during the winter season.
But neighbors who are unhappy that this process has forced the wildlife habitat to vacate the Pond were not mollified by this news. Absent from the Pond this year have been ducks and their ducklings, spring peepers, birds, turtles and other wildlife.
The long overdue meeting took place on Thursday, June 15th at Wilde Memorial Chapel at Evergreen Cemetery. Neighbors complained about the lack of communication with them on what was happening at the Pond as well and wanted to know what the “process” is for communicating with them on neighborhood issues. Hipple, who has been in the post for almost two years, was short on answers to that inquiry, but he did promise to improve communications with them.
One neighbor asked about flooding the nearby tennis courts for skating in the winter. Hipple said he would check into the practicality of that and whether or not repair to the courts for the summer season would make that possibility unfeasible. Hipple suggested that utilizing some dirt mounds behind the Pond for attracting butterflies was feasible. There are problems with the bottom configuration of the Pond. Councilor David Brennerman proposed listing reconstructive work on the bottom of the Pond on the CIP list.
The discussion followed a lengthy presentation by Hipple that outlined the history of the Pond to an impatient audience.
Councilor Brennerman has announced that he will not be running for re-election to the city council this fall.
Please see two prior posts herein on the controversy over the Presumpscot Pond. They are: June 7, 2017 and May 26th, 2017.