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March 4, 2014
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Roseburg park planners seek to make splash

Roseburg’s Parks and Recreation Department will ask the City Council to apply for a state grant to build a spray park next year at Fir Grove Park.

The park would be a safer way to cool off on summer days than swimming in a river, Parks Program Manager Barbara Taylor said.

“It’s an amenity that can be used by anyone, and I am sure it is going to be enjoyed on a hot day,” Taylor said Monday. “I think it is a way to encourage youth and their families to get outside, too.”

The 2,000-square-foot spray park would cost an estimated $400,000 and be immediately north of the Umpqua Valley Arts Center parking lot and The Clay Place off West Harvard Avenue.

Taylor said she wants to apply for a $240,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Another $110,000 would come from the Park Improvement Fund, which is money the city receives through donations, grants and fees paid by new development. The remaining $50,000 would come from the Stewart Trust Fund created from the estate of Dr. Earl B. Stewart, who donated land to the city, including the Fir Grove property.

A parks advisory commission and the City Council will have to approve plans before Taylor can submit the application. Construction would likely occur in summer 2015.

Roseburg has few places besides rivers for people to splash about. Umpqua Community College’s pool has been closed since 2011 due to disrepair. The pool is scheduled to reopen in May, according to UCC’s website. There is also a pool at the YMCA on Stewart Parkway.

Spray parks are becoming popular because they are cheaper than pools to build and to maintain, Taylor said. The park would have motion-detecting sprinklers with recirculated water. Also, there isn’t a need to hire lifeguards.

“A lot of communities that have had pools in the past are going this route because some municipalities can’t afford the pools,” Taylor said. “You can cool off at much less cost.”

Taylor said state administrators reviewing grant applications like to see there is community support. She encourages residents who want a spray park to submit a letter of support to the parks and recreation division at City Hall, 900 S.E. Douglas Ave. Letters would be included with the application.

The spray park is the first of two projects planned at Fir Grove Park. Taylor said the city eventually would like to build a $130,000, 2,500-square-foot playground adjacent to the spray park.

Taylor said the city decided more than a decade ago it wanted to build a playground at Fir Grove Park. The park is home to the arts center, Umpqua Actors Community Theatre and the Roseburg Soccer Association, but it lacks swings, slides and other playground equipment.

When a spray park was suggested a few years ago, Taylor said staff members favored installing it at Fir Grove because of the open space and because utilities are already in place. Fir Grove also has restrooms and parking.

The spray park would likely operate from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and then on the weekends in September, Taylor said.

•You can reach reporter Christina George at 541-957-4202 or at cgeorge@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Mar 4, 2014 12:33PM Published Mar 4, 2014 04:15PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.