2015-06-19 / Front Page

Officials inspect sagging park wall

Condition has worsened to the point where sidewalk has been closed
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


The retaining wall between the Scarborough skateboard park in Memorial Park may have to be replaced because groundwater runoff has damaged the structure. The sidewalk near the wall will be closed until landscape professionals can determine how to fix the wall. (Michael Kelley photo) The retaining wall between the Scarborough skateboard park in Memorial Park may have to be replaced because groundwater runoff has damaged the structure. The sidewalk near the wall will be closed until landscape professionals can determine how to fix the wall. (Michael Kelley photo) The sidewalk going past the skateboard park in Memorial Park will be closed until further notice while landscape professionals look into what is causing the retaining wall between the skatepark and the sidewalk to bow.

“We’ve noticed over the years, it has not popped up over night frankly, that the retaining wall has started to lean,” said Town Manager Tom Hall. “It looks like it’s being impacted by groundwater.”

Hall said he doesn’t expect the wall to catastrophically fail, but the sidewalk will be closed as a precaution. The skateboard park, however, will remain open

Bruce Gullifer, director of the Community Services department, said the skateboard park and the retaining wall were built more than 10 years ago.

Gullifer said the skateboard park, which includes several ramps, jumps and stairs to do tricks on, was one of the first things that was built as the town transitioned that piece of property from the former site of the Portland Twin Drive-In to Memorial Park, a multi-use facility that includes athletic fields, a pond, gazebo, amphitheater and walking trails.

The drive-in, originally one screen, opened on the site in 1949. A second screen was added in 1968. The drive-in closed in 1986, was torn down and sat vacant until 2003 when the town took over much of the property. Between the 1950s and 1970s, the site was used for Baptist church services.

“The water is falling off the skatepark in sheets, making its way toward the retaining wall and has begun to push the wall to the point that it is bowing toward the athletic fields,” Gullifer said.

Gullifer said the town is in the middle of getting cost estimates to disassemble, fix and then reassemble a 50-to-60-foot section of the wall.

What exactly needs to get done and when the work would be completed, Hall said, are not known at this point.

“I want to hear how acute the situation is,” he said. “This is not something that was anticipated in the budget. If it is fairly low in cost, we might be able to do it quickly. If it is more expensive and in-depth, we may have to hold off on the work.”

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