by: CITY OF WOODBURN - The city of Woodburn will receive a $277,800 grant plus earmarked funds for renovations that include tree and fence removal. Woodburn’s oldest park is set to get a makeover.

Legion Park will get a $463,000 renovation starting after Fiesta Mexicana celebrations next August, and city taxpayers will not have to pay a dime.

The project will include replacing the park’s aging picnic pavilion and restroom facilities, upgrading the sports field lighting system, thinning trees, adding paved pathways and improving irrigation systems, according to the city’s Community Services Department.

Funding will come from a $277,800 grant received by the city last month from the state’s Parks and Recreation Department along with dedicated funds raised by systems development charges, which are earmarked for park development, said Jim Row, Community Services director.

“We want to improve the health of our urban forest,” Row said at the Sept. 9 city council meeting. “We also want to open the park up. It is very dense and doesn’t have a very usable lawn surface.”

The department identified about 600 trees that were either diseased or in need of thinning or removal, Row said. Other areas of improvement include taking out chain link fencing that divides the park and replacing aging lighting structures, he said.

“That is music to my ears,” said Councilor Pete McCallum, who cited how outdated the facilities were even decades ago. “I will say it again – this is fantastic.”

Further down the road, the city may consider replacing the current field with an artificial turf, which would enable year-round usage, said Councilor Frank Lonergan.

The project would cost an estimated $1 million, but would decrease irrigation and maintenance costs and would provide tournament space for the soccer-infatuated community.

The idea has been discussed at length and would be worth exploring in future phases of the park’s rehabilitation, Row said.

“That would allow significantly more use,” Row said. “We really have to limit play on the fields because it takes a significant beating.”

Other future considerations include removal of the park’s stadium, which may spark concerns due to its historic quality. The stadium, while decrepit, is functionally safe to use, according to Row.

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