Roseburg city officials Tuesday celebrated the renovation of a neighborhood park that had fallen into decrepitude and disuse, and recognized residents who did something about it.
Parrot Creek Park, built in 1964, was rechristened in a short ceremony at its southeast Roseburg location, just off Starmer Street, where neighbors used to walk by without noticing it, said the city’s streets superintendent, Jim Johnson, who worked on the project.
“We had a lot of people walk up to us and say that they didn’t realize there was a park here,” he said.
A year ago, Parrot Creek Park was overgrown with brush and frequently deserted. The basketball surface was a cracked and uneven asphalt pad. The rickety swings and slide dated from the park’s original construction. The picnic table had been completely claimed by flora.
Today pretty much everything about the tiny park is new. Improvements include a larger, lined cement basketball surface and hoop, dog waste station and a walkway with a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
Out went patches of brown grass that thinned in the hot summers, replaced by landscaping and a turf lawn with a timer-regulated irrigation system. A new play structure sits on wood chips, which drains the rain and cushions falls.
The renovation won’t increase the number of parks in Roseburg, but it might as well, said Val Ligon, parks program coordinator. The former Parrot Creek Park wasn’t much of a park, she said.
“I can’t even begin to say what an improvement it is,” she said. “It will definitely get people out of their houses.”
The project cost approximately $30,000. In his brief remarks, City Manager Lance Colley thanked the Friends of Parrot Creek Park, which secured a $10,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation and $5,000 in private donations.
The group was led by Gary Murphy of Sutherlin, an employee of AmericanWest Bank and graduate of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Project Leadership program. Each year, Project Leadership classes vote for one project to see through from conception to completion.
He said he and other Project Leadership students became motivated to upgrade Parrot Creek Park when they saw it get narrowly outvoted two straight years.
“It lit a spark,” Murphy said. “I was pretty sure we had enough people interested in the project to make it happen.”
To save money, work on the renovation was performed over the months by crews from the city’s streets, engineering, water and parks divisions, rather than a private contractor.
Murphy said important in securing the tribe’s grant was having a pool of private money already gathered.
Roseburg Councilor Bob Cotterell laughed when he said the council is usually “very friendly” toward projects that come with outside funding. When those projects fit with a council goal, like city beautification, he said, even better.
“This is kind of what we dreamed of,” he said. “It was some neighborhood people who got together and did something.”
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.