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Anatta Blackmarr: Imaginative nature play area could incorporate themes from well-known children's books

Some parks are exhilarating; others, soothing. Some invite you to revel in a sense of freedom and wide-open spaces. Others invite you to nestle into them — to nest, and have the feeling of being held, being enclosed in comfort. Anatta Blackmarr

I think the Concord property in the Oak Lodge area is a place where you can have both. When developed into a library-park-community-center, there will be open spaces and also places where you can nest — because the site is embedded in a quiet setting, at a distance from the sound and activity of McLoughlin Boulevard.

But funding for this project is currently in question. Some of the project's potential is in jeopardy. Before the Jan. 20 public meeting on the Concord project, please let the Board of County Commissioners, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District and District Advisory Committee, and the County Administrator all know that you support full funding for a first-rate library-park and community center, by sending them a message.

The county made a commitment to develop the Concord project to its full potential. Let them know that you do not want a scaled-back, second-rate substitute for the Concord complex vision that community volunteers have so carefully developed in coordination with the architects, over a number of years:

• The Board of County Commissioners — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District and the District Advisory Committee — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

• County Administrator Gary Schmidt — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You may also attend the informational Zoom meeting at 5:30, Jan. 20, to hear updated information from county staff about alternative design options. Though there won't be public testimony, you will be able to pose questions in the chat at any time during the presentation at PHOTO: ANATTA BLACKMARR - Milwaukie's Ledding Library provides an example of a recently constructed library that incorporates park elements.

Let's build a community center and a Concord library-park that is a marriage of urban and wild. Many libraries are designed now with walls of glass, which look out onto nature. A key part of a thoughtfully designed park hosting a library is the view of trees from inside the library.

This kind of park often provides an amphitheater — and an outdoor classroom — for watching plays or movies-in-the-park or listening to slam poetry or nature and educational presentations. There may be outdoor nooks for reading or playing chess or Scrabble. A library-park can offer an extension of the children's library, with an imaginative nature play area that incorporates themes or visual elements from well-known children's books.

There are special advantages that the marriage of a library and a park can offer that make it different from a stand-alone library or a stand-alone park. Help make sure our library-park, along with the community center, will lift everyone's spirits and serve us well for years to come.

Anatta Blackmarr is a resident of Oak Lodge.

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