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September 15, 2022

Portland nonprofit to build $300K kids' outdoor recreation center

Rendering Rendering / Courtesy Rippleffect The Rippleffect Outdoor Center, due to be completed by next spring, will be adjacent to Rowe Elementary School in Portland.

Rippleffect, a Portland-based nonprofit that promotes youth development and leadership through outdoor activities, is teaming with the Portland Public Schools to build a $300,000 children's outdoor recreation center.

The Rippleffect Outdoor Center, which got the green light this week from the city of Portland, will be located next to Rowe Elementary School, at 23 Orono Road. The public facility will include 14 high-ropes course elements, a 45-foot tall, four-sided rock climbing tower, and two yurt classrooms.

Adam Shepherd, Rippleffect's executive director, predicts that the center "will be the starting point for equity of access for all Portland youth, where they can experience individual challenges, learn new outdoor skills, build connections and see new possibilities in themselves and the world around them."

Climbing tower rendering
Courtesy / Ripplefect
A 45-foot four-sided rock climbing tower will be a prominent feature of the Rippleffect Outdoor Center.

Rippleffect, which has 10 year-round and 30 seasonal employees, has an annual operating budget of just over $1 million. The organization operates most of its programs on Cow Island, the waters surrounding Casco Bay and the wilderness of the New Hampshire's White Mountains.

"The mainland site," Shepherd said, "will become the home base for our year-round outdoor adventures, and provide more opportunities to engage with Portland's youth in meaningful ways through new and existing partnerships."

Xavier Botana, superintendent of Portland Public Schools, spoke of the collaboration as an example of community partnerships at its best.

"We've long cherished our relationship with Rippleffect and the unique skills and important programming that get introduced to our students," he said. "With the new Rippleffect Outdoor Center right in our background, the opportunities are only further extended and available year-round."

A spokeswoman for Rippeffect told Mainebiz that the group has raised $140,000 so far for the project, including $70,000 from the Davis Family and Davis Conservation foundations and $70,000 from major donors.

Construction of the first yurt classroom and ground elements is set to start this fall, with the full site due to be completed next spring. High 5 Adventure Learning Center, a nonprofit educational organization based in Vermont, will build the high ropes part of the structure.

More information

Further details about the project, including information on how to donate money, time or equipment, is available here.

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