Paul Drinan is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Friends of Fort Gorges (FoFoGo). Paul will be presenting a program on Friday to highlight the group's mission, trajectory, status and ways to engage with the restoration of Fort Gorges in Portland harbor. Their mission statement: "Friends of Fort Gorges is committed to the restoration and preservation of Fort Gorges and ensuring access to facilitate its educational and cultural potential. We believe in partnering with our community to fulfill this vision."
The City and the Friends of Fort Gorges have partnered to restore this historic structure and to reduce hazards at the Fort, ensuring that the Fort remains a vital public space for generations to come. The restoration will be broken into roughly three phases: a Hazard Mitigation Phase, a Preservation Phase, and a Restoration and Improvement Phase.
Work on the Hazard Mitigation phase started last October with the repair of a stairway that leads to the second story roof of the Fort. This spring, the Army Corps of Engineers will commence with their portion of the project to install a series of railings and gates throughout the fort to increase safety for the many casual visitors to the Fort. Through making these repairs, the City hopes to bring the structure up to a standard where organized groups will be able to utilize the Fort for historical tours, musical and theater performances, and other public events.
The second phase, the Preservation phase, consists of evaluation and strengthening the structure so that the Fort will be a safer place to visit and remain open to the public for years to come. Right now, when the Fort is not closed, visitors may visit the historic structure and explore it at their own risk. Funding for the Preservation phase will be provided by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Friends of Fort Gorges.
Following the completion of phase two, the City of Portland and Friends of Fort Gorges will commence a more comprehensive Restoration and Improvement phase that will involve public input on future uses and activities at the Fort, which will guide the direction of the restoration work and potential future amenities such as an improved pier, restored indoor spaces, and restrooms.