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In addition to a new soccer fields, basketball/futsal courts, pickleball courts to be included in imporvements

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Legion Parks playing surface is scheduled for a makeover beginning in April and estimated to be done by early August.WOODBURN, Ore. — On Monday, Oct. 25, the Woodburn City Council approved of a $4 million contract to improve Legion Park, building upon earlier renovations to the Park first conceived in 2013. The most recent improvements will include a soccer field, pickleball courts, and basketball and futsal courts, as well as bleacher seats and outdoor lighting.

The project is expected to begin in April 2022 with completion of the construction in the mid to late summer, according to Recreation and Park Manager Jesse Cuomo.

The installation of the artificial-turf field at Legion will hopefully draw club soccer and tournaments to the Woodburn area, something that would be a boon for the city's economy. Soccer players from all over and their families would hypothetically spend money at local restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels, Cuomo said.

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - A new artificial-turf surface for the Legion Park field will make the soccer field playable year round.

"Tournaments in general, especially non-COVID times, are extremely popular," Cuomo said. "Soccer tournaments and being kind of central valley like we are, it really kind of is an ideal location to pull from southern Oregon, northern Oregon, even over the hill in Bend. I think it's an ideal location to host those types of things for club soccer and tournaments.

The outdoor lighting would allow for tournaments and games to be played into the evening as well.

Another addition to Legion Park will be four pickleball courts. Pickleball is currently being played on tennis courts at Settlemier Park, so these courts will be the first dedicated specifically to the sport of pickleball. The courts were included in the improvement plans because of the rise in popularity of the sport, and because of the demographics who play.

"It's a sport that can be played from young (people) to those more senior in years as well," Cuomo said. "So it's just one of those things with seeing the growth and looking at our demographics and population and excitement around the sport. It made good sense to have pickleball there."

PMG PHOTO: JUSTIN MUCH - Among the improvements slated for Legion Park are an artificial turf field that will include pickleball, basketball and futsal courts.

The basketball courts, which will double as futsal courts, will hopefully benefit many people, whether you're working to perfect your mid-range jumper or fine tune your touch on a soccer ball. Plus, seeing people out playing sports in a park that already has a handful of trails and a unique aesthetic will be something people can enjoy in their spare time, Cuomo says.

"It's a really amazing park in its own right already for the pathways and the kind of feel that park has with the large, beautiful trees in it," Cuomo said. "So just being able to go down there and even have your lunch or something like that and watch people play pickup games or whatever the case may be, I think would be a blast."

The Legion Park improvements having been a goal of the city for a while. In addition to the field and courts previously mentioned, there will also be a new bleacher seats, concrete sidewalks and pads, electrical work, fencing, a storage shed, and playground surfacing.


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