May 22, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Northeast Neighbors celebrate new 12-acre park, funding pledge for Striker Field

7 min read

A few years ago, Northeast Neighbors had an idea for a new park. City of Eugene staff took it from there. On April 4, neighborhood association Chair Kevin Reed.

[00:00:10] Kevin Reed: I would like to introduce Carolyn Burke with Parks and Open Spaces. She’s the manager, along with Mark Kosmos and Kelly Shadwick, the community engagement manager. We have some really good news for the neighbors in our area.

[00:00:21] Carolyn Burke: Thank you, Kevin. Hi everyone. And yeah, we are really pleased to be here, to share with you some good news. We have acquired a new park in your neighborhood. Our new 12-acre park site is at the corner of Delta and Ayres Road. It’s part of the former River Ridge Golf Course. And we’re really excited to be able to bring this to an area where we know we have a really growing population, a lot of new residents here, and we know that these parks are really important to the neighborhood.

[00:00:58] I do want to mention that we are still actively stabilizing the site. For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be working on the bridges, we’re going to be getting the trails in place putting up some fencing and things like that. Try to refrain from going there for a few weeks until we can get all that managed.

[00:01:19] It is super easy to access by car right now. We’ll have to figure out some parking and we will be working on creating some crosswalks so that there’s safe access to the site. So yeah, we’ve got a little bit to do, but we just want to just share with you the good news that you have a new park in your neighborhood and then we’ll be putting out an official grand opening when we can welcome people in.

[00:01:41] The second thing I wanted to talk about was Striker Field. We have now bid the project. We have a successful contractor—it is Wildish—and all of the really highest priority amenities will be constructed. That includes a large playground, restroom, irrigated playfield, paved as well as some soft-surface walking trails, the parking lot picnic shelter, a spray play, which we’re really excited to be able to add in, as well as some performance space and lawn seating.

[00:02:15] Our bids did come in high. And so we had to find additional money to make this happen. But we made the commitment to you that we would be building this park. And so we have increased our budget to be able to do that.

[00:02:29] There are still some amenities that we’re planning to build in phase two, and that includes pickleball, basketball, and pétanque. So we will be actively working on finding funding for those projects and so that we can build those in the next few years.

[00:02:48] I’m calling it Striker Field, although probably a lot of you remember that we had a naming process, we asked the neighborhood to submit names and the top vote getter was some Kalapuya name that would appropriately honor Native Americans. And then the next step in the process is to consult with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and the Siletz, and these conversations are actually happening at high levels in the city where we’re establishing new intergovernmental relationships with the tribes.

[00:03:21] And it is my goal to have that name when we have a grand opening for this park, and that is scheduled to be this fall, likely October, we will be able to meet in the park and celebrate together.

[00:03:36] Kevin Reed: You know, Carolyn, we also have good news about Creekside Park and the covers that we’re trying to develop there. We’re currently getting bids so that’ll happen here very shortly, and they’re hoping to start construction in the spring here. So there’s a lot of good stuff happening in the parks in our area.

[00:03:50] John Q: A question from City Council candidate Jennifer Solomon.

[00:03:54] Jennifer Solomon: You mentioned the funding had changed a little bit, and I was just kind of curious about what that meant.

[00:04:02] Carolyn Burke: Striker had a $3.5 million budget and our bids and final estimates came in at about $4.1 million. So we’re actively working to add about $600,000 to the Striker budget, and we can do it and we’re looking at SDCs and some other things. But that is where the budget stands right now. Hey John!

[00:04:28] John Faville: Hey Carolyn, how are you doing? I want to pass along a couple of questions that have come to us from neighbors living very near the park. And that is how security works and how the restrooms are kept secure. And just how general maintenance on the park works.

[00:04:46] Kelly Shadwick: One of the things that helps with security is to lock those restrooms at night and then reopen them in the morning. That makes it less likely that there might be car camping getting established anywhere nearby.

[00:04:59] And then our park staff will be there regularly to maintain the park and empty the garbage and do all the kind of landscape needs. Our maintenance staff do go to every park once a day. And then for the park ambassadors, that would be more on an as-needed basis.

[00:05:15] Our two park ambassadors—who were funded by the 2018 Parks and Recreation Bond and Levy—their job is to work in the entire park system and remind people of park rules and they also work with our two also levy-funded park resource officers that are two EPD officers dedicated to the park system. So, between those four, they work across the system together. And then in the spring through early fall, we also have two seasonal park ambassadors that join the team. And so that is the safety team for parks.

[00:05:54] And then our Park Watch reporting system is online. You let them know if you’re seeing an issue that’s not rising to the level of needing, like in a Eugene Police response. (In that case, you would call the Police directly.) But we check our Park Watch call logs every day throughout the day, and they will respond to things that are reported.

[00:06:17] And Mark, could I turn to you for the lighting question?

[00:06:22] Mark Kosmos: Certainly, yes, we do have lighting in the park. It starts at the parking lot as well as along the paths to the core area, in and around the playground. They’re basically designed so that there’s a safe level of light and you can see where you’re going and you can see if there’s activity going on where there shouldn’t be at night. We did keep an eye on sight lines from the street—this came all the way down to even the orientation of the restroom to make sure that there isn’t a wall somewhere that somebody could hide behind or sleep behind or camp behind. So, that kind of thought went into the project pretty early.

[00:06:55] Susan: Hi, I’m Susan. Back to Jennifer’s question about security and safety. Could you describe the process where the bathrooms locking or being locked at night. Who oversees that process, how is that checked, so forth?

[00:07:15] Kelly Shadwick: Park operations oversees that and we have a security contractor that goes around and locks various restrooms at night and gates as well, and usually staff are the ones to unlock them in the morning. That said, it’s hard to find security services right now, working at night. And so we’re grateful that we have the vendor that we have right now. And I’m hopeful that they would be able to add coming up here and locking this bathroom as well, if that’s what park operations decides to do here.

[00:07:44] Kevin Reed: So, Kelly, if there is ever a time where the neighborhood as a group could volunteer to take on that responsibility, we would certainly like to throw our hat in the ring, should there be any situation to where you run short on the quality of your security, we would certainly like to take that security to heart and make sure that those bathrooms are locked and that the concerns of the neighbors are being addressed.

[00:08:06] We want to make this park a wonderful experience for all our neighbors. We’re all in this together. It’s our park, it’s our neighborhood park. We all worked very hard to make this a reality, and I certainly want to do everything I can in my power to make sure that it maintains its quality into the future.

[00:08:21] Councilor Mike Clark: Congratulations to Carolyn and to all the staff for the effort to buy the additional River Ridge property and establish that park. Fantastic work, guys. That’s really cool. And I know that was tough to pull together at the last minute when it became available and everything involved, so great job.

[00:08:39] We had some additional bond money become available that was unspent and Council was asked if we could allocate that to Golden Gardens Park. And I brought up the point at Council that Striker Field has been a commitment of the City’s much longer and that we now don’t know, with the change in costs, how to fund Phase Two, and that we haven’t finished what was to me an initial commitment. And the Manager said, ‘We’ll find the extra $600K to get that done and we’ll do it.’

[00:09:11] I will certainly make a nuisance of myself at the table until we commit to finishing that the way the city has promised.

[00:09:19] Kevin Reed: You know, we couldn’t have gotten as far as we have on this park in particular, without the help of Mike Clark. He has been a staunch advocate on our behalf and he’s been there for us fighting, so Mike I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

[00:09:31] John Q: Northeast Neighbors celebrate progress at Striker Field, Creekside Park, and the new park at the old River Ridge Golf Course.

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