A beautiful public park with expansive playground equipment, a full basketball court, benches and places to run free is blossoming in a neighborhood that has greatly needed an updated space for recreation.
Pacific Park, located on Shadylane Drive near Pioneer Parkway and Harlow Road, opened in November with new play structures and 10 freshly planted bigleaf maple and white alder trees.
By next spring, the new grass will be growing and more trees will be in place so that everyone can recreate in the open green space. “I’m really excited to be able to open it and to see people getting to enjoy it,” said Nicole Ankeney, a Willamalane landscape architect.
In the past, the 3.25-acre property belonged to a neighborhood association and was a private park with equipment that was minimal and aged. Willamalane received the property as a donation last year, and had included renovation of the park in the $20 million bond measure approved by voters in 2012.
Willamalane was able to make even greater improvements when it received a $260,00 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The total cost of the project is about $670,000. Ankeney did the overall conceptual design. A consultant, Dougherty Landscape Architects, also worked on the project.
The project’s first goal was to expand the playground. There are two new play areas, one meant for children ages 2-5 and the other for kids ages 5-12. The park also has a basketball area and a sand box. A plaza area offers three picnic tables.
Instrumental in helping raise interest in the project was neighbor Cindy Burns.Burns approached Willamalane about renovating the park, and then gathered signatures in the neighborhood showing support.
“I would like to voice my overwhelming support for the Pacific Park project,” Burns wrote Willamalane. “There are many, many children in this neighborhood that need something to do.”
Sara Wade, an intern with the nonprofit Friends of Trees, helped to plant the initial trees in October.
The project is one that is close to Wade’s heart because she lives less than a mile from the park and she lived right next to it for several years while growing up.
A childhood friend of hers, whom she met while living near the Pacific Park site, joined her at the recent tree planting. “It was very uplifting to be able to take part of where we grew up and where we became friends and to give back to where we started,” Wade said.