District seeking $287,000 grant from the state to create new nine-acre neighborhood park off Corinne Drive near Sportsman Airpark

RENDERING COURTESY OF CPRD - A preliminary schematic depicts several of the features the Chehalem Park and Recreation District is proposing to include in Friends Park, a nine-acre neighborhood park near Sportsman Airpark that it hopes to develop as soon as 2019 if it can secure a grant from the state.

The Chehalem Park and Recreation District held a public meeting last week to share plans for its newest neighborhood addition, Friends Park, off the southern end of Corinne Drive near Friends Cemetery and Sportsman Airpark.

According to parks supervisor Jim McMaster, the district is applying for a $287,000 state grant in hopes of developing the nine-acre plot into a park beginning in the summer of 2019 or 2020.

"People had questions, but overall people were very positive," McMaster said of the meeting. "People said they've always wanted a park there, they're out there right now, walking their dogs around the blackberries out there. There was really no negative at all. Some people moved there with the understanding that there would be a park there. We did have the land there set for a park."

McMaster said CPRD purchased the property in 2008 and set it aside specifically for a park with the expectation that the surrounding area would be developed into housing.

The park takes the shape of a peninsula, with stream corridors on the east and west sides that converge to the south before feeding into Hess Creek. The northern edge of the park is bordered by a subdivision along Corinne Drive.

"It's a great piece of property and it will be nice for a park," McMaster said. "There's a lot of wildlife in the stream corridor around it, which is really nice to have."

At the meeting, district staff laid out their plans to install a walking track around the perimeter, a basketball court, playground, drinking fountain and large open space.

"Everybody was really positive about that," McMaster said. "Our next step is to turn the grant in and see if the state is going to call us in for interviews."

McMaster said there was concern about how close any park amenities will be to the subdivision, but the plans include a 75-foot setback on the northern side. As is common when a park is developed, parking was also a concern.

"With all of our neighborhood parks, we really don't have a parking issue because they're for the neighborhoods, so the reality is most people walk to the park," McMaster said. "The other reality with this park is that it is situated kind of out of the way, so you would have to make a point to go to that park. Maybe the newness of it will be exciting, but after that I don't think it will be a problem."

According to McMaster, the application for a local government grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department includes a contribution of $113,350 from CPRD and $298,299 of local in-kind donations for a total budget of $698,649 if it is approved.

"Hopefully it goes through," McMaster said. "If it doesn't, we'll probably apply again. I can't say at this point whether we'd be able to develop it by ourselves."

McMaster said that the design and planned amenities are preliminary and could change. A second phase of development, including parking, a bathroom and shelter, is included in the overall park plan, but that CPRD has not made any financial commitments to that aspect of it.

"That may never be done," McMaster said.

McMaster added that future development could include a connecting trail to Hoover Park to the north and from Friends Park to the bypass to the south, which would potentially connect Newberg and Dundee via trail, although those aspects are not part of the plan for the park itself.

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