Party toasts new park on waterfront

Full Sail and Hopfest donate portion of sales to help create a long-awaited waterfront park

June 8, 2005

Hood River County residents are invited to tip back a cold one on Friday — and make a contribution toward a waterfront park at the same time.

The first official fund-raiser for the park will take place from 4-7 p.m. at the Full Sail Brew Pub and families are welcome. The business plans to donate $1 for every pint purchased to the development of Lot 6, a six-acre parcel along the Columbia River.

The Park Development Committee (PDC) also wants to show community members a preliminary park plan and gather their input for a final design.

“We’re building for the future, we want something that’s really good for Hood River,” said Christine Knowles, PDC co-chair.

A money tree will also be set up at the June 10 party for individuals to pin bills to, and children are being invited to throw their change in a penny pond.

Knowles said it has been exciting to see people step forward in the last few months to offer services and/or materials for the project. Hood River’s sister city, Tsuruta, Japan, recently donated 50 ornamental cherry trees and G. Willikers Toy Shoppe pledged $10,000 for children’s play equipment. In addition, the Hood River Downtown Business Association will turn over a portion of its proceeds from the annual Hopfest. Resident Andy von Flotow has signed up to provide 5,000 cubic yards of compost.

Knowles said these are the latest contributions on a growing list that is bringing the park closer to reality each day. She said the vision of the joint port/city PDC and Friends of the Waterfront Park Committee is a multi-use, year-round gathering place. She said the final design will be developed to reflect the character of Hood River and connect the waterfront with the downtown business corridor.

Although draft site plans have been submitted to Oregon Parks in the hopes of netting up to $500,000 in grant funds, Knowles said a consultant will be hired to create the final conceptual drawing.

Knowles said whatever look is given the park, the grounds will be landscaped with a children’s play area, walkways, seating, public art and open play fields. It is important to the PDC, said Knowles, that the park enhance the waterfront redevelopment of adjacent properties that is being planned by the Port of Hood River.

“I think our goal for this park is to have it represent the interests of Hood River and this is an outdoor and diverse community,” said Jim Greenleaf, PDC member.

The PDC has compiled a a “wish list” of equipment that will be displayed at the Full Sail party. Area residents are invited to help cross items off that list by making a contribution. For example, an interactive spray park can be installed for $40,000, a picnic bench purchased for $700, or even a shrub for $40.

“Let’s take all of the positive aspects of Jackson Park and bring it to the waterfront,” said Knowles.

If the PDC is successful in scoring state dollars, the first phase of work can begin in the near future. To enhance Hood River’s chances of success, Knowles and co-chair Mark Zanmiller have requested that agencies and organizations write a letter of support. On Friday, these will be presented by PDC representatives to state officials and Knowles hopes the obviously high level of community enthusiasm will help Hood River earn a top ranking. She said scoring the grant should be “do-able” since about half of the qualifying points relate to how much local money, energy and commitment is available.

If the local waterfront park plan does not make the cut for public funding, then Knowles said a fund-raising committee is likely to be formed.

Knowles said about $1 million is needed for park development — and then capital will be required for ongoing maintenance.

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