Beulah Park isn’t easy to find.
Tucked in the hills northeast of downtown Roseburg, it’s not just the location that keeps the 7-acre park hidden. It’s the quiet.
Go by there on many weekdays and you’re struck by three things: How pretty it is, how bare it is, and perhaps most of all, just how empty it is.
The swing set, slide and merry-go-round are gone, victims of time and neglect. The full-length basketball court has inch-wide cracks running down the middle of the asphalt; a hop scotch game drawn in chalk near one basket seems to get more use.
Nearby residents like Mindy McFerrin say the park is a faded jewel just waiting to be polished. McFerrin has lived in the neighborhood for six years and says her disability limits her ability to take her four sons and a niece to other area parks.
“There are so many kids in this area, and it would be nice for them to actually have something to play on,” she said.
Having a real neighborhood park is about more than just providing a space for children to burn off energy, she said. It will also help bring families in the area together.
“With a park like that you get to know your neighbors better. It’s a way for the kids to make friends and for the grownups to make friends.”
It looks like McFerrin and others in the neighborhood are about to get their wish.
Beulah — which at nearly 60 years old is one of the oldest neighborhood parks in the city — is going to be completely renovated. If everything goes as planned, by next summer the park will feature a new playground, sidewalk, accessible walkways, picnic tables with benches. The basketball court will also be re-surfaced.
The renovation will include several unique features, including a dozen playground items that will be accessible at ground level so children with disabilities can use them. The surface of the playground will consist of padded artificial turf — a first for a Roseburg park — that can accommodate wheelchairs.
Plans also call for shade trees and an Oodle swing, which is specially designed to hold up to six (Oodles of) children.
Construction is slated to begin next spring and take about 60 days to complete, putting the opening at around June or July, said Roseburg Parks & Recreation Program Manager Kris Ammerman. The renovation is estimated to cost $265,000, with $158,00 of that coming from a state grant and the remainder from the city.
“It’s one of our older parks and unfortunately it’s been neglected,” Ammerman said.
For McFerrin, the improvements can’t come quickly enough. She has seen firsthand what happens when a community comes together. McFerrin suffered from some health-related issues and the community rallied to her aid, raising thousands of dollars to help pay for her medical care.
While getting a new playground and other amenities in her neighborhood park isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s still a welcome development, she said.
“I think it’s incredible. I just feel like it will help make the neighborhood into a community again.”