‘Friendraiser’ get together will profit Brunswick recreation complicated

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A depiction of the first phase of the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex project, which will cost $6.2 million according to the master plan released in May. Contributed / City of Braunschweig

Flight Deck Brewing and Wild Oats will host a Landing Bloc Party on September 10 to raise funds for the Midcoast Athletic and Recreation Complex (MARC), a multi-million dollar project that includes an outdoor skate park, pickleball courts and a grass pitch could bring and more to Brunswick Landing in the years to come.

“We’re calling it a ‘friend-raising’ event,” said Sally Costello, Brunswick’s economic and community development director and vice-chair of the MARC Advisory Committee. “It should be a really fun time.”

Saturday’s event runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature live music, food trucks, a 50-50 raffle and more, according to Costello. Members of the MARC Advisory Committee will be on site to discuss the project, which construction could begin as early as next summer.

“This is something we’ve needed and wanted for a long time,” said Abby King, City Councilor and Advisory Board Member. “I think (the Bloc Party) is a chance to really show the community that their input has been heard.”

During the 8-month community engagement and planning phase of the project, Advisory Groups CHA and BerryDunn worked with the Landing Community Center Complex Committee to gather feedback and ideas from over 1,300 Braunschweig residents through surveys, focus groups and a public forum, according to a master plan collect study that the city council approved earlier this summer.

Community feedback helped the team develop its plan for a 10-acre property adjacent to the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Center on Neptune Drive, land the city received from the National Park Service in 2020 on condition that it be designated for public parks or used for public recreation purposes.

According to Costello, the first phase of the project, which will include a skate park, grass and turf playing fields, basketball and pickleball courts, and a playground, will cost an estimated $6.2 million. Potential future phases could include construction of an indoor or outdoor aquatic center and ice rink, costing over $30 million.

For now, the MARC advisory committee is focused on completing its Phase 1 plans and raising money through grants and private donations to fund the project without raising taxes for Braunschweig residents, King said.

The group has applied for a $500,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which the city council has approved, Costello said. She added the project is well positioned to attract $3 million in federal funding this year.

MARC supporters say the new facility will not only serve active Brunswick residents of all ages and ability levels, but will also justify its price by attracting visitors from across the Midcoast.

“People from Topsham and people from Bath and the surrounding communities will be able to come and take advantage of this,” said Kristine Logan, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and a member of the MARC Advisory Committee. “I think it’s a great addition to the landing and what we’re trying to create here.”

To donate or learn more about the project, visit www.marcproject.org.

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