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City pays to bring Park Cleone up to modern standards

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - A front end loader tears up an old portion of Park Cleone to make way for a couple of ponds.A $300,000 project to make several improvements to Fairview’s oldest park began Monday, and is scheduled for completion by the end of October, said Sarale Hickson, development analyst for the city of Fairview.

A portion of Park Cleone and the playground will be kept open during most of the construction, according to a city news release, though the only access point will be from Northeast 213th Avenue.

The community garden also will remain open to gardeners, and most of the construction will be fenced off for the duration of the work.

On April 2, Fairview City Council approved designs to make further improvements to Park Cleone after it received a large new playground last summer.

The project went out to bid this summer.

Dirt & Aggregate Interchange, a Fairview company, was selected as the contractor after the lowest bidder withdrew, Hickson said.

Park Cleone is in Old Town Fairview at 2063 N.E. 213th Ave. There are 25 public parks within the city of Fairview, a total of 443 acres.

The city’s goal is to modernize the park (built in the mid-1980s) and make it more accommodating to families and children from nearby neighborhoods.

“It was basically the city’s first park, and we haven’t done much to it since,” Hickson said.

Those living in the vicinity of Park Cleone, many of whom are renters, have the least access to public facilities, but also have the most children and the highest number of people per household, Hickson reported at the City Council meeting in April.

Most live within walking distance and regularly use the park, she said.

The park’s design, Hickson said, promotes principles of the city’s Healthy Eating Active Living campaign.

Exercise equipment, a full basketball court and volleyball court are part of the design plans.

The park’s community garden, which Hickson said is full every year and used by duplex- and apartment-dwellers nearby, will be revamped with more places to sit.

Part of the design calls for bringing a portion of Raintree Creek, which has been piped underground, back above ground and to its natural state.

The park also has some ponding and drainage issues that require attention. The city also plans to put in a half-mile path, restore the park’s large gazebo and add a foot bridge across the creek as well as a family picnic area, drinking fountain, handicapped access and additional parking.

Juanita Fletcher, who has lived next to the park her entire life, or 60-plus years, said there were often homeless people sleeping in the park and there had been vandalism issues.

“Any improvement they make around here I think is great,” Fletcher said, “and great for the kids in the neighborhood.”

Personally, she would love to see a water feature.

Students from Fairview Elementary School are eager to help make the park a more inviting place and more handicap accessible.

They also want more space to ride their bikes.

The city will use money from its system development charge fund to pay for the project. One-third of the upgrades include a stormwater retrofit, identified in the city’s master plan and required to meet federal permitting standards.

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