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Ardenwald-Johnson Creeks plant sale boosts plans for Balfour Park

by: David F. Ashton This park plan “mockup” shows all of the amenities suggested for the park by neighbors.

To raise community interest in a new park, and to raise the money to help create one, Ardenwald organizers did the 'natural' thing - they held a plant sale on the very empty lot they hope to make a park on Saturday, June 11.

The new park would be in the Ardenwald/Johnson Creek neighborhood just east of McLoughlin Boulevard. 'We haven't named it yet,' explained event leader Lisa Gunion-Rinker. 'For the time being, we're just calling it the 'Balfour Street Park'. '

For several years, Gunion-Rinker said, an Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association subcommittee has been looking for potential park lands west of S.E. 32nd Avenue. 'That's an under-served area in our neighborhood for green space. We looked at nine different parcels which would have been large enough, narrowed it down to two, and finally settled on 3103 S.E. Balfour Street.'

The other property, located opposite the Springwater Trail Corridor, would have been a nice bike commuter rest stop, Gunion-Rinker conceded; but the committee decided the community would be better served working with the lot just west of S.E. 32nd Avenue.

'The City of Milwaukie purchased this property about two years ago,' Gunion-Rinker said, 'With the help of a 'Nature and Neighborhoods Grant' from Metro. We raised some funds from a garden tour to have a mockup concept plan created.'

Because the mockup is a compendium wish list of all the features neighbors would like to see, it's not well-designed. 'Now, we're raising money for a park 'Master Plan' - we need between $10,000 and $50,000 for the Master Plan itself. When that plan is approved by the City of Milwaukee, Clackamas County, and Metro, we can start applying for grants to make the improvements.'

They hope to get enough funding to create the plan and start applying for grants by 2013.

Gunion-Rinker later told THE BEE that the sale brought in $1,211.90. 'Because the tree nature and topography of the park is fairly nice, we should be able to build a very nice community park here.'