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Upgrades are planned to a century-old park (but a popular one) on Powell Boulevard

RITA A. LEONARD - Joanne Schwartz, Landscape Architect at Mayer-Reed, Inc., presented the planned new Creston Park playground design. Work to update the park begins in about a year.Creston Park, a 14.5-acre city park, on the south side of Powell Boulevard near S.E. 44th, was created in 1919. Endowed with a public pool, playground, a softball field, and a tree-shaded picnic area, it's a popular place.

However, shade brings problems of moisture, and the playground equipment put there over 30 years ago now needs repair. A playground upgrade is in the works.

The project will be largely funded by the Parks Replacement Bond. Public input on the updates was gathered at a May meeting, where three design options were offered for comment at an open house and online. That resulted in 104 public comments, suggesting such options as peek-a-boo frames and mirrors, climbing towers, adventure pathways, poles and frames, soft mounds, low boulders, a net climber, spinner, and group swings.

During the past summer, PP&R removed the previous swings near the western park entrance due to safety concerns. In August, Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced an allocation of an additional $850,000 in "System Development Charges" funds for the project, which now total over $2 million. This will allow expansion and enhancement of the playground, adding play equipment for kids of all abilities, and also for those aged five years and under.

The final plan for improvements was revealed at a public meeting November 8 at the Creston School Cafeteria. New features will include some rubberized safety surfacing, a variety of swings, climbing mounds, a 10-foot-tall geodome, and a natural play area. There will also be ADA-accessible features including paths, picnic tables, a parking space, park benches, and a new drinking fountain.

At the November 8th announcement, PP&R and the design team from Mayer/Reed, Inc. shared a draft of the final design. PP&R Project Manager Robin Johnson-Craig advised that they hope to retain all mature fir trees on-site.

"Our mission is to help neighbors by providing safe places, facilities, and programs that promote physical, mental, and social activities, and connect the park to the community," she said. "We recognize and encourage celebration of the differences around us. 'Diversity and equity' are vital to our ideals and values."

Construction should begin in about a year, and be complete by spring of 2020. Nearly 3,000 homes are within Creston Park's service area.

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