By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,413)
“There is a Rennasance happening in Portland at this time and especially around the Park, with a new hotel going up adjacent to it, several other hotels within walking distance of the Park, the renewal of India Street and the exciting plans to redo Franklin Street,” emailed Frank E. Reilly to mhn.com late last week. “Lincoln Park wants to be part of the Renascence.”
Last October 5th, Reilly, a playwright, cum ad executive, cum director and actor, toured Portland’s oldest park during a First Friday tour, Art in our Front Yard series, hosted by the city’s Public Art Committee, about the rich history of the Park. “That’s when it hit me to do what I can to motivate the Park’s renewal and so Sharon and I began a series of “biscuit meetings” at 9 am at our home…it was certainly rewarding to see how many important people in the city want to see Lincoln Park brought back to its glory days.” (For more background information, please see Post # `1,227, dated 10/5/13 herein.)
The energetic Reilly is currently writing a Master Plan and constructing a web site .Law firm Murray, Plumb and Murray is constructing the non-profits’ 501c-3 plan because of its affiliation with the Park. Please visit: loveinlincolnpark.org. for more. In addition, the group, including Jeff Tarling and Earle Shuttleworth, is preparing a slide presentation to be given at the Portland Public Library entitled: “Yesterday Today Tomorrow.” The May date has not been established yet.
The non-profit is looking for all the support it can muster from the public. Some of the objectives it has include: repairing wrought iron fences and gates, replacing and adding benches, repaving paths, placing Big Belly trash cans in Park, replacing and adding new trees and reinstating gardens. Most importantly, however, is restoring the fountain’s spire (added to the Park in 1871) and get running water in the Park. The non-profit would like to convert to a recycling method in order to save water and city funds. (For more information on a recent cleanj-up day of the Park by Murray, Plumb and Murray, please see Post # 1,407, dated 5/1/13.)
Lincoln Park came into being following the Great Fire of 1866. It was originally intended to act as a firebreak if needed in the future. The Park was for a long time the centerpiece in the city. It was originally called the Phoenix Park because of the Great Fire. The name was changed to Lincoln Park following his assassination. Thee churches were built around its periphery and in the 20th century civic structures were added around it. However, this historic Park became neglected – until now. Under the guidance of loveinlincolnpark.org, it could once again rise to its centerpiece prominance in Portland.
Reilly, the “spear carrier” here, retired from the advertising business that he and his wife, Sharon, started in San Francisco. Simultaneously, he was founder and artistic director of his own theater company in the Bay Area: acting in or directing dozens of plays there. Coolest of all, is his “Hollywood stint.” He acted in more than a dozen feature films, opposite Carol Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Valerie Harper, Elliot Gould, Loni Anderson, ETC. Ten years ago, he and his wife found a house built in 1803 overlooking the Fore River and snapped it up.