Below is a rendering of the New Hope Baptist Church property. The area highlighted in green shows the general land in which a new City park will be designated – the area near South 2nd Street. IMAGE PROVIDED
At this month’s city council meeting, council gave the City an OK to purchase 41,000 square feet of land from New Hope Baptist Church at 597 S. Front St., with intentions to turn the western vacant area behind the church building along South 2nd Street into a park.
The New Hope congregation accepted the City’s offer of $95,000 over the weekend. The City will now move forward with surveying and dividing the property, as well as getting a legal description prepared so that the City can actually purchase the land, City Administrator Michelle Amberg said.
The current Parks Master Plan includes a park south of Oregon Avenue as one of its goals. For over a year, the City has actively searched for a parcel of land that would be appropriate for a park.
In January, Amberg and Public Works Director Cliff Bellew met with New Hope Baptist Church representatives to discuss the possible purchase of the property.
Over the intervening months, negotiations were underway and two executive sessions were held to discuss the purchase price. In March, the City and New Hope Baptist Church came to an agreement.
In negotiation, the City has also agreed to install a fence between the church property and the City park and to maintain the fire easement along the southern boundary of the purchased property to include a gate for access. The City also agreed to pay for all surveying and other costs associated with the creation of the new parcel and to pay for any title fees and closing costs.
The funds will come from the Parks Systems Development Fees Fund, in which $300,000 was appropriated for equipment, land and building improvements in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.
The City has also agreed to only use the property as a City park, so long as they own the property.
Once the legal description is prepared, ”the partition will have to go through the planning process and be recorded at (Lane) County,” Amberg said. ”Once the lot is designated, then (the City) will move ahead with escrow and title work.That could take a little while. After that is complete then (the City) will have bought the parcel.”
Once those ducks are in a row, the City will go to the Parks and Trees Committee for their thoughts and recommendations for park land usage. Those recommendations will then go back to council for the final decision as to what kind of park it will be.
Mayor Dave Stram said that the property is plenty big enough for tennis or basketball courts, a playground or even a skate park.
”There’s plenty of room to put lots of different things,” Stram said.
The area the park would serve is a residential spot, where numerous apartment complexes with lots of children are nearby, Stram said.
”I see this (property) as serving the residential community south of Oregon Avenue and providing new opportunities for children and families to get outside, be active and enjoy a leisurely pursuit in Creswell,” Stram said.
Though this is a long process, Stram said he hopes the property is owned by the City by the end of 2018.
PARKS PLANNING OPEN HOUSE IS MAY 3
If you have interests in Creswell parks and would like to share what you would like to see in Creswell’s future, drop by their open house on May 3, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at My Boys Pizza, 96 N. Mill St. Anyone with an interest in shaping the future of Creswell’s parks and open spaces is welcome to attend.