An attempt last year to secure a grant to expand the local skate park and make other area upgrades came up just short.
"Last year, we applied for a local government grant to the state," Duane Garner, executive director of Crook County Parks and Recreation District, recalls. "We scored pretty well, but we were just one under the red line from getting it."
Coming so close last time, Garner said the parks district is making another attempt at a similar grant, a local one that is once again offered through Oregon State Parks. And once again, district leaders are targeting expansion and improvement of the skate park as well as renovation of the nearby tennis courts and the addition of lighting along the bike path that passes through the same area.
If they succeed in landing the grant, Garner said it would cover about 60 percent of the approximately $470,000 project. Most of the remaining 40 percent will be covered by the parks district budget and by donations.
Improvements to the skate park will include an expansion that will double the footprint of the facility, which was resurfaced last summer.
"We are not demolishing the work that was done last year," Garner said. "We would likely remove the steel ramps and use a similar floor plan but make them all concrete. We have coordinated with Dreamland Skate Parks. We hired them last year to do an initial conceptual drawing. We had a lot of public input — had sessions with kids coming up with thoughts on design."
Garner noted that the design has changed a little bit, and that a concrete pump track has been added for scooters and skateboards.
The tennis courts will be converted to pickleball courts during the renovation process. The parks district has seen a growing demand for pickleball courts in recent months that Garner says far outweighs the demand for better tennis courts.
"We would totally redo the surface and convert it into pickleball courts, which are much smaller than tennis courts, so you can fit more in the space," he said. "It's about where you paint the lines on the ground and where the nets get placed."
Garner went on to point out that Crook County High School has great tennis courts that community members can utilize.
The bike path lighting, another part of the proposed project, is intended to make the path safer for cyclists and pedestrians to use at night. The proposed project includes lighting for the portion of the path between Northeast Third Street and Juniper Street, but the parks district hopes to eventually install lights along the entire path.
The lighting portion of the project is likely to occur regardless of whether CCPRD gets the Oregon State Parks grant, thanks to a $15,000 Facebook Community Action grant the district recently received for the project.
"With the Facebook grant, if all else fails, we'll at least apply it toward lighting the path," Garner said.
Garner said he will present his project for the Oregon State Parks grant on June 1, and he is hoping to hear whether the district was awarded anything by the beginning of July.
"It is possible we could have a fall project," he said. "Some of that is going to be determined by contractors' schedules. People are so busy right now."