WHO WE ARE
Friends of Belfast Parks is a membership-driven, volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, continued improvement, and respectful use of our local parks and greenspaces.
Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in our local parks and a desire to help protect and improve them for future generations. We heartily welcome new members and hope you will consider becoming a member. The annual membership fee is quite nominal, but the rewards are immense!
So join today, bring your energy and ideas, and make a difference! Just complete the membership form under the “Get Involved” section and mail it to the address listed.
Friends of Belfast Parks works to increase public awareness about the inherent value of parks; promote community use and respect for the facilities; involve youth in projects to extent possible; and support the efforts of the Belfast Parks and Recreation Department with special projects and fundraising as needed.
Why We do What We do
It’s simple! Parks and greenspaces are vitally important to a community because they
• Embody the American tradition of preserving public lands for the benefit of all citizens
• Offer opportunities to be physically active, reduce stress, enhance personal wellness, and re-connect to nature
• Have facilities for organized, structured, enjoyable activities for people of all ages
• Encourage critical social interactions for maintaining community cohesion
• Provide protected critical habitat and corridors for indigenous and migratory wildlife
• Provide floodplain protection, groundwater recharge areas, natural sound barriers, and vegetative buffers
• Help lower temperatures and mitigate other negative effects of climate change
• Increase the overall community tax base, as properties closer to parks are assessed at a significantly higher value
• Are economic engines that improve quality of life and make community a more desirable place to live
Adapted from “Top 10 Reasons Parks Are Important,” by R.J. Dolesh, M. Hobbs Vinluan, M. Phillips, National Recreation and Park Association
FOBP was established in 1996 by a small group of citizens who were concerned about the state of disrepair and deteriorating conditions in the local park spaces. At that time the city had one park of any size (Belfast City Park) and four smaller parks (Heritage Park, Wales Park, Kirby Lake, and Eleanor Crawford Park) but no parks department or staff. Groundskeeping and facility maintenance were performed by Public Works Department crews on a minimal “as needed” basis, under the direction of an Assistant City Manager. A Parks and Recreation Commission served to advise city officials as to the custody, care and management of the parks and facilities.
Largely due to the advocacy and persistence of the FOBP membership, in 2004 the city established a Parks and Recreation Department and hired its first full-time Director to manage the park system. Money was budgeted for seasonal groundskeeping staff to maintain the park areas. Since then, the Belfast municipal park system has grown exponentially. Today the city has fourteen parks; a system of walking paths and trails; an arboretum; and an indoor facility that can be used for recreational activities, public meetings and private functions.
Since its inception, Friends of Belfast Parks has contributed more than $100,000 to special projects, improvements, amenities, and programs in the municipal park system, including:
• Establishment and 20-year operation of annual “Arts in The Park” arts and crafts festival
• Organization and sponsorship of “Citizen Summit - Our Parks: Frills or Untapped Resources” symposium
• Organization and management of “Maine Wienerfest,” a dachshund-focused festival
• Funding for and construction of the Belfast Dog Park (> $50,000)
• Funding for and construction of the Phineas P. Quimby Labyrinth (> $30,000)
• Design and construction of perennial flower garden at Belfast Common entrance
• Funding for a portable 104’ x 52’ outdoor winter skating rink • Funding for park identification signs
• Financial support for the Belfast Arboretum
• Financial support for the Passagassawakeag Rail Trail • Financial/ volunteer support for outdoor concerts and theatrical performances, other projects
• Organization and facilitation of “Wise Kids Outdoors” summer day camp program
• Financial/volunteer support for Belfast Daffodil Project
FOBP OFFICERS 2023
President Carol Good
Vice President Fran Torresen
Secretary Carol Bauss
Treasurer Dale Kuhnert