The Portland Land Bank Commission announced the acquisition by the City of Portland of a 27-acre forested parcel along Rand Road near outer Congress Street, from the Avangrid Foundation. This land has been a high priority open space parcel for several years due to its adjacency to existing conservation land, its network of trails and its natural and recreational values. With this addition, the City has added protection to its largest remaining undeveloped area around the headwaters of the Fore River.
“When you’re hiking in these woods you are among soaring pine trees, streams and open wetlands,” said Pat Bailey, Chair of the Portland Land Bank Commission. “You feel like you are in a special place but you are right in the heart of Portland.”
The Avangrid Foundation, charitable arm of AVANGRID, parent company of Central Maine Power, worked with the City and Land Bank Commission to assess the best and highest use of the property and then to ensure that the parcel would be kept as open space and available to the public. The Foundation donated 85% of the appraised value to the Land Bank to support the acquisition.
“At the Avangrid Foundation we look for unique opportunities to partner with our local communities and pursue our mission of environmental stewardship, and this was the perfect opportunity to do both,” said Nicole Licata Grant, Executive Director of the Avangrid Foundation. “We are so pleased to work with the City’s Land Bank Commission to provide this land for public use. We want to thank the Boulos Company and the Law Firm of Curtis Thaxter for the additional donation of time and services to bring it to fruition.”
Public access to the Rand Road property will continue via the trail network maintained by Portland Trails, which can be reached from Rowe Avenue, Starbird Land and Rand Road. Due to the varied land cover, topography and soil type, this is an area of regional flow for species moving to adapt to climate change. Development of the Rand Road property would not only represent the loss of an opportunity to protect a unique and important natural area, it would degrade the value of adjacent conservation lands by fragmenting the large undeveloped acreage.
“This is a big deal for Portland to be able to preserve this 27-acre parcel that helps the City accomplish so many goals at once -- from preserving our existing tree canopy and habitat areas, to getting us closer to 100% of our residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park or trail, to creating outdoor recreation and exercise opportunities for walkers, bikers, students, commuters, and dog-walkers,” said Ethan Hipple, the City’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Facilities. “One hundred years from now, when Portland may have grown or changed so much, residents will be thankful that this gem of a property was set aside for the public to share and enjoy forever. The City of Portland and the Land Bank Commission want to thank the law firm of Jewell & Bulger for donating time and services to complete this transaction.”
The Avangrid Foundation recognized the conservation value of the area and quickly reached an agreement with the Portland Land Bank Commission, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The Portland Land Bank Commission is responsible for identifying and protecting open space resources within the City of Portland. The commission seeks to preserve a balance between development and conservation of open space important for wildlife, ecological, environmental, scenic, or outdoor recreational values.
About The Avangrid Foundation
The Avangrid Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds philanthropic investments that primarily impact communities where AVANGRID, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate. Since 2002, the Avangrid Foundation and its predecessors have invested more than $28 million in partnerships that focus on building sustainable, vital and healthy communities; preserving cultural and artistic heritage; advancing education; and improving people’s lives. The Avangrid Foundation is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the United States. For more information, please visit www.avangridfoundation.org.