“It is an amazing transformation,” is how Brookings Mayor Jake Pieper described improvements to the athletic fields at Azalea Park.
This week the City Council approved contracts with the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation (ODPR) for grant funds totaling $418,365 to be used in paving and lighting the parking lot and athletic fields near Lundeen Road. The latest project is just part of $1.4 million in improvements which began two years ago and will continue through 2020.
Projects have included a reconfiguration of softball and soccer fields, fencing, backstops, dugouts and a combination concession/restroom building.
Concrete pathways will provide American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant accessibility between the various ball fields and buildings. A new play structure for younger children, more picnic tables and bicycle parking are all part of the larger project which also included scoreboards and a park maintenance building.
“We started working on this plan in 2009 and were fortunate to have a talented designer…Tony Baron… on the Parks and Recreation Commission at the time,” Mayor Pieper said. “Tony joined the staff as Parks Supervisor in 2012 and has relentlessly pursued funding to implement the plan. He is now managing implementation of the project he had the major hand in designing.”
In addition to the $796,993 secured from State grant funding, the City also received over $45,000 in donations from the West Family Foundation and the Brookings Harbor Softball Association. The City is also spending $546,048 on the various projects.
“This work will not only benefit local sports teams, but will also help us attract more tournaments to the City which will boost the economy,” Pieper said. “These fields are also used increasingly for special events and the addition of lighting will further expand this use.”
This week Baron, who now serves as the City’s Parks and Planning Manager, is also overseeing the delivery of a restroom building at Chetco Point Park as he supervises a $200,000 trail improvement project there.
“This will be the first time we have had a restroom at Chetco Point Park and we believe it will facilitate longer stays by people enjoying the park,” Baron said. The restroom will be located near the horseshoe pits just beyond the wastewater treatment plant along the trail. The cost of the restroom is $42,798.
The trail improvement project was funded by a donation from Lela E. Wagner and is expected to be completed by fall 2018. The project includes trail widening and stabilization, replacement of the existing bridge and the installation of a trestle-like ramp from the end of the paved walkway up a now-steep slope.
“The trail improvement project will greatly enhance accessibility and our ability to maintain the trail,” Baron said. “These are further enhancements to Chetco Point Park following the paving of the parking lot earlier this year.”