Civic pride via park adoption
Do you have a favorite park in Woodburn?
Maybe you should consider adopting it.
City of Woodburn Recreation & Parks department is resurrecting a parks program that has been on hiatus for a while: Adopt-A-Park. The program is designed to give city residents an opportunity to work with the city to help keep city parks safe and looking sharp.
It's not exactly a new program, and its one that jurisdictions have implemented across the country. In this region, Marion County has an Adopt-A-Park program, as do many Willamette Valley cities, including Hillsboro, West Linn, Troutdale, Albany, Sweet Home and Dallas.
Woodburn is reupping its place on that list.
"It was done in the past, but it has been about 5 years since the prior groups we had were active with it," said Woodburn Recreation & Parks Manager Jesse Cuomo. "We looked at it and thought that we should get this off the shelf, since we have the ability to facilitate it and get this thing going again.
"So this is new, off the press -- or really sort of a reboot."
Cuomo said the city has been able to get some extra projects done with this type of volunteerism, which is open to civic groups as well as individuals. "Adopters" could be a civic or church group, a sports team or even just individuals or a group of neighbors who want to take an active role in seeing their recreation space look its best.
"In the past we've been able to get some projects done that are difficult to do with smaller numbers," Cuomo said, stressing that the volunteer element affords more mileage of city resources.
Woodburn has 13 developed park areas, ranging from neighborhood green-space play areas like Nelson Park, to vast ballfield grounds like Centennial Park, to the multipurpose mix of wooded areas, ballfields, playgrounds and community shelter at Legion Park.
Ideally, a group or individuals would take the adoption role for a park that is meaningful to it. Larger groups such as sports teams, as an example, may find it worthwhile to pitch in at Centennial Park, while a group of neighbors could find it rewarding to set their tasks to Senior Estates Park.
"Adopt-A-Park usually a group of individuals who want to put time into a project," Cuomo said, noting that the city has been contacted by high school students looking to get civic involvement hours in. "To have an organization committed to a park for us is very helpful; we help support them, or actually they support us, depending on how you look at it…Having those extra bodies helps us get things done that we couldn't otherwise."
The tasks can be varied: general cleaning, minor repairs, painting of picnic tables or maybe the inside of a restroom, shrubbery care and maybe some weeding. Among the bigger challenges is spreading bark dust on trails or manufactured wood fiber in play areas.
City sources note that, in general, the program is intended to:
•Intensify the maintenance and cleanliness of adopted parks;
•P?romote community support for park beautification and anti-vandalism programs;
•Increase a sense of stewardship and pride towards the locally adopted parks;
•Build a positive image for the individual, family, business, or organization in the city of Woodburn;
•Educate the public about park maintenance activities and the recreational opportunities offered through their city parks.
Some stipulations of the program include a requirement to sign an agreement with the city and the availability to work in your assigned park at least four times per year.
"When we had Adopt-A-Park in Woodburn before, it was kind of organic; people wanted to participate and it took a form of its own," Cuomo said. "Hopefully we'll see that happen again."
Adopt-A-Park information and applications can be found at woodburn-or.gov/parks/page/adopt-parkor.gov/parks/page/adopt-park.
A map view of city of Woodburn parks can be found at woodburn-or.gov/parksites.
Marion County's park adoption program information is available at woodburn-or.gov/parksites.
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