Lincoln City Parks & Recreation receives $750k from Oregon Parks & Recreation Dept. for new Park!
Lincoln City Parks & Recreation (LCP&R) is receiving $750k from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept (OPRD) for the continued development of a new 6.71 acre community park in the historic Taft District of Lincoln City. This recent funding was granted by the OPRD Commission this past Wed.
The $750k assists in the funding of the first community park to be built in Lincoln City in close to two decades, while also being the first community park in the historic Taft District (southern area of Lincoln City) alone. The current park conceptual plan includes new turfed and surfaced multi-sport fields and courts, a large covered outdoor special event area which can convert to multi-sport courts, picnic shelters, restrooms, playground, and an accessible walking path around the park.
“We are so excited!” said LCP&R Director Jeanne Sprague. “Thank you to OPRD for understanding the value and need of a new community park in Lincoln City. This new park will offer health, wellness and many other benefits to our residents, visitors, and local economy. This OPRD funding is getting us to our goal of park construction.”
The OPRD funding is a huge boost to Lincoln City Parks, coupled with LCP&R receiving $1 million in State of Oregon funding this year from OR House Bill 5202 for development of the new park. State Rep. David Gomberg, who represents District 10 in the Oregon Legislature, worked collaboratively with district staff, LCP&R staff and the LCP&R Advisory Board to champion funding for the new Park.
Representative Gomberg states: “I’m convinced the new Community Park in LC will become a staple of this community, providing much-needed recreational space, opportunities for our kids, and new business opportunities for the Central Coast. This is a visionary use of the space and we’ll see the results for decades to come.”
Sprague agrees, saying “The voices in our community have asked to have this park built, we’re listening and we’re moving towards the goal line. The building of this community park in Taft is needed, public sports fields, sports courts and special event areas are needed, all of which will support our local economy.”
Since 2008, Lincoln City had been in talks with the Lincoln County School District (LCSD) to acquire the 6.71 acres, to build a park where the former Taft Elementary once stood. In anticipation of the park, the Lincoln City Urban Renewal Agency built a public parking lot with 61 spaces directly to the west of the park area. In December 2020, Lincoln City was able to purchase the land from LCSD for $422k.
In preparation for final park design, LCP&R in partnership with Lincoln City Public Works are completing land surveys on the park land, along with final demolition of the decommissioned Taft school maintenance shop. Phased steps include finalizing the park landscape design, utilizing the current park conceptual plan, and then breaking ground on construction. Public open houses on the park landscape design are planned to start this Winter 2023, offering the public an opportunity to voice their wants in park amenities. This design will provide estimates of costs, allowing Lincoln City to phase the construction of the new park in accordance to available funding and budget.
Sprague is hoping that phased construction can start in late 2023 and/or 2024. “Pending funding, we will build park amenities as we’re able. For example, we may need to start with construction of restrooms, playgrounds, or covered shelters, and build on from there.”
These park funds come from a voter approved, State lottery funded grant program administrated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Typically, the program awards over $5 million annually to qualified projects, and has awarded over $60 million in grant funding since the program began in 1999. This year, OPRD allocated $25.2 million in grant funds for 24 proposals from cities, counties and parks districts from across Oregon. Lincoln City’s project ranked 13th of the 47 applications.
For continued updates on the new community park development in Lincoln City, see https://www.lincolncity.org/departments/parks-recreation/new-community-park-taft.