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Playground equipment installation is underway at the new park in southern Newberg

PMG PHOTO: COLIN HYATT - Large, modern playground equipment is the centerpiece of Friends Park, one of CPRD's newest projects.

After planning originally to complete the project by this past June, the Chehalem Park & Recreation District is making steady progress on Friends Park in Newberg as the COVID-19 pandemic changes timelines for a number of institutions around the city. The park's playground equipment is being installed this week by CPRD officials.

"We are making good progress on installing this playground right now, and we are working steadily to take advantage of the dry weather," CPRD administrator Casey Creighton said Oct. 5. "The plan is to get the ground seeded this week, then get the concrete poured and basketball hoops in next week. We hope to get construction — playground equipment installation, paving, grass seeding, and bark dust spreading — completed by the end of October."

Friends Park is 9 acres and is located in south Newberg, just off Corinne and Kennedy Drive. Oregon Parks and Recreation provided CPRD with a $287,000 grant for the park back in 2018, and with the support of neighbors and local institutions, steady progress has been made in recent months. Playground equipment for the park arrived in June, but installation was delayed due to the logistical and financial challenges surrounding COVID-19.

Natural disasters such as wildfire smoke and windstorms don't help, either.

"The pandemic affected all of our park projects, by reducing staffing for a time, and adding projects," Creighton said. "The Labor Day windstorm damage also demanded a lot of our resources to mitigate. Our original plan was to have this park completed last June. We're grateful that the neighborhood community has been so patient."

PMG PHOTO: COLIN HYATT - Crews have erected the lion's share of new playground equipment at Friends Park in Newberg.

CPRD completed its grading plan for the property in spring 2019, broke ground in August of that year, held neighborhood meetings in September 2019 and is finally at the installation phase. Crews are hard at work with masks on while keeping a safe social distance from one another, and the project is starting to come together after multiple years of hard work by CPRD officials.

Partners in the community were crucial for this project, Creighton said.

"We are grateful to the neighbors who have contributed their time and energy by serving on Friends Park Playground Committee, and also the neighbors who attended public meetings early on," he said. "Playground committee members include Debbie Koski, Eric Moon, Sarah Carey, Megan Zimmer, Julie Firth, Katie Spilker, Shallay Booker, and Kristl Plinz, who have all been involved heavily from the beginning."

For more information on the park and its progress, keep an eye on CPRD's social media pages or go online to CPRDNewberg.org/general/page/story-friends-park.


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