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NCPRD, city project to benefit from Oregon Parks and Recreation government grant program.

COURTESY GRAPHIC: NCPRD - A rendering from an April 2019 report shows what Milwaukie Bay Park might look like once it's redeveloped thanks to a $750,000 grant from Oregon Parks and Recreation. Milwaukie Bay Park will soon receive a major facelift thanks to a $750,000 award from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's government grant program.

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - More than 500 local residents gathered for the 'sit in solidarity' event held in support of Black Lives Matter on June 9.Milwaukie Bay's project is a joint effort between city officials and the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District to develop 3.6 acres of Willamette River waterfront. The site will include a new children's play area, an interactive water feature, social gathering areas, public art, a safer permanent alignment of the regional Trolley Trail, accessible pathways and new plantings to bolster natural areas.

County Administrator Gary Schmidt informally announced the grant to county commissioners last Thursday, March 18, and was officially announced in a press release from NCPRD Tuesday, March 23.

PMG PHOTO: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Geese in Milwaukie Bay Park are friendly to humans and will swim up requesting to be fed while being photographed.The vision to redevelop Milwaukie Bay Park has been in the works since August 2018 when more than 300 residents visited the site to learn about potential amenities and ideas for the sites' improvement, kicking off a public-outreach campaign that lasted about eight months. Project managers took the public's input and plans from a 2010 master plan for the park to develop final designs for the park which were published in April 2019.

PMG PHOTO: KATHY SCHAUB - Leaders cut the ribbon to the mark the grand opening of Milwaukie Riverfront Park in 2015.Laura Zentner, director of the county department overseeing NCPRD, said that Clackamas County is proud to partner with Milwaukie to help bring the community's vision for the waterfront park to life.

"This grant gets us one step closer to completing the project, and bringing these exciting new amenities and recreational opportunities to all district residents," Zentner said. "We are grateful for the generous support of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission, and the strategic guidance of the NCPRD board of directors."

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba said that when completed, the renovated park will be a "gem" of the Willamette River. He thanked the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission for their generosity in providing the funding and for understanding the vision for Milwaukie Bay Park which will also include several conservation aspects such as preservation of redwood trees on site, storm sewer and water supply updates.

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - More than 500 people lined the hill in Milwaukie Bay Park on June 9, for a sit-in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.County Commissioner Paul Savas echoed his appreciation for grant dollars which will help bring the project one step closer to the finish line.

"The planning of this new recreation and nature area has generated a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement, and NCPRD is pleased to receive this support and additional funds to help make it happen," Savas said.

NCPRD Project Manager Heather Koch said that over the next year staff will continue to put the finishing touches on design details and constuction documents, as well as continue to secure more funding for the project which is expected to cost around $8.2 million.

Koch said that both NCPRD and the City of Milwaukie have committed internal funds to the project, but they will also seek other grant opportunities to help deliver the project in full.

"I think what excites me most is this is public, waterfront land, and it is meant to be an amenity for the people who are here, whether they live in the district or are stopping by for the day to shop or recreate. To be able to use this kind of amenity not only to access the river and enjoy nature, but be able to do things like play and gather for a concert when we can start doing those things again" Koch said. "We're in the business of providing parks and recreation, and there's nothing we appreciate more than being able to bring more of that to the people who are here."

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