ELLSWORTH, Maine — Ellsworth came one step closer to its $1.2 million goal to reinvent the former site of the Knowlton school as the city’s signature park.

With a $25,000 donation from Bar Harbor Bank and Trust in hand, the fundraising group Campaign for Knowlton Community Park met the $100,000 mark necessary to trigger a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Brunswick-based Sewall Foundation.

Including the roughly $200,000 the city has already spent on infrastructure, fundraising efforts have now covered the first $400,000 toward turning the open green space into a new park, complete with a water park, amphitheater, pavilion, fountain and children’s play area.

Martha Dudman, with Gary Friedman and Associates of Bar Harbor — a consulting group hired by the city to run the fundraising effort — said Monday large donations, like the one from the Bar Harbor bank, are crucial in the group’s progress.

“It’s so nice when you get a big pledge like this because it moves you ahead so quickly,” she said.

Dudman said the fundraising plan includes the city obtaining $500,000 in grants, as well as an equal share from area residents and businesses.

The fundraising committee is offering naming rights for key features planned for the park. For $100,000, the donor can have the park’s central fountain named in his or her honor. $50,000 will secure naming rights for the children’s water park, the pavilion or the amphitheater. A less-expensive option also is available for individuals and businesses who can have their names inscribed on granite tiles ($1,000) or bricks ($300).

The city hopes the new Knowlton Community Park will help the city attract new residents and businesses.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and,...