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OPRD in Oregon's communities
Arcadia Skate Park
Arcadia Skate Park

What began as local kids in Toledo rallying for a place to practice kickflips and railstands, is gaining interest in communities across Oregon and bringing new business to the city. Arcadia Skatepark is located in what has been described as “a kid’s haven” – near the library, swimming pool, and tennis/basketball courts. According to the Pete Wall, Toledo City Manager, the need for a skatepark was brought to the city council’s attention by the local youth. “Toledo’s a small town, and the kids wanted a place to hang out,” he says.  
 
The majority of the funding for the new park, $205,065, came from an OPRD Local Government Grant. Local government grants use OPRD’s voter-awarded lottery money to fund community projects. More than $20 million has been awarded to local communities since the program began in 1999.
 
The number of skateparks around Oregon is growing, and Arcadia is now regarded as a how-to model. Wall has had visits from other Oregon community officials who are interested in bringing skateparks to their local youth. It has also brought new business to Toledo. A skateboard and bicycle shop opened up across the street to serve the needs of the riders.

Local Government Grant aids Hermiston central park plans

Just in time for the city’s Centennial Celebration, Hermiston’s central park and community hub has received a major facelift with a boost from an OPRD Local Government Grant.
 
The city’s McKenzie Park will have a whole new look when it hosts the Centennial events beginning in July, along with annual community events such as Cinco de Mayo, the Hermiston Classics Car Show and a summer concert series. Located in the center of the city, the park also attracts young families, a lunchtime crowd and evening strollers seeking a quiet place to relax. The city has been upgrading the park for the past few years. The replacement of a 1953 wading pool-turned-sandbox with state-of-the-art playground equipment was one of the first changes.
 
"Renovating this park is way for our community to honor the people of our past and to celebrate our future," says Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm.
 
In 2006, the city received $117,000 from OPRD to finish the park renovations. The grant is being used to build a new brick centennial plaza, update a gazebo, and replace a structurally unsound restroom and outdoor cooking areas. The 75-foot plaza, viewed by the city as a highlight of the renovations, will include a new Centennial Clock Tower and a special water feature.

ATV grants aid Douglas County

 Douglas County's Half Moon Bay campground
Douglas County’s Half Moon Bay Campground
"There is an explosion of ATV use in the Oregon dunes and we’ve made a commitment to increase facilities for ATV enthusiasts." That commitment, expressed by Douglas County Parks Director Jim Dowd, combined with the help of OPRD's ATV grants has led to the opening of both a new staging area and a new campground in the last two years.
 
According to the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), ATV recreation in Oregon has increased nearly 40 percent during the last 15 years. The increased riding challenges ATV recreation providers to keep up with the demand with adequate facilities.
 
Douglas County’s first step in meeting this challenge was to develop the Umpqua Lighthouse Staging Area. A 2004 ATV grant for $178,960—a 67 percent match—helped build the area, complete with restrooms, paved parking and a new Dunes Rescue Center. The center gives emergency response and law enforcement teams space for training as well as quick and easy access to the dunes.
 
A second ATV grant in 2006 awarded Douglas County $120,000—a 37 percent match—to help develop the county’s Half Moon Bay Campground near Winchester Bay. The campground has 45 primitive sites and five group camping areas. It also provides riders direct access to the dunes.
 
According to Dowd, the campground has attracted overwhelming response from riders this spring. "People are so excited to have more camping—they are always thanking us!" he says. "We’re already filling up the sites."
 

Eugene's transformed historic mausoleum and cemetery

 Hope Abbey Mausoleum in Eugene
The Oregon Heritage Commission visits the restored Hope Abbey Mausoleum in Eugene. 
When the Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association (EMCA) purchased the Eugene Masonic Cemetery and Hope Abbey Mausoleum just 12 years ago, the cemetery was in dire straits. The mausoleum was a structurally unsound eyesore. The cemetery grounds were overrun with weeds and were being used illegally as a campground. The place was noisy and unsafe.
 
EMCA has transformed the area into a gathering place for neighbors through an enormous community effort. With the help of OPRD’s heritage grants, the mausoleum is now restored into an appealing and well-used cultural resource. The mausoleum, designed by Portland architect Ellis Lawrence in 1914, serves as Oregon’s best example of Egyptian Revival architecture.
 
Since 1995, OPRD has awarded more than $8,000 in heritage grants to increase public interest in the mausoleum. The support encourages greater use of the building while preserving it as a centerpiece of Eugene’s oldest public cemetery.
  • A 2005 Heritage Grant for $3,635 helped upgrade the porch to meet the requirements of both the National Register of Historic Places and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The building is ADA accessible while still maintaining its historical integrity.
  • A 2006 Historic Cemetery grant for $4,500 was used to upgrade the mausoleum’s interior marble. The work included cleaning, re-grouting and leveling.
Thanks to the grants, the mausoleum is well on its way from being in a state of disrepair to a destination for visitors. Outside, the cemetery is used as a city park. It is safe, serene and "hundreds of people pass through it daily," said Dennis Hellesvig of the EMCA.
 
With both projects finished up, the EMCA could not be happier. "We are so proud of the work and the impact it’s having on this neighborhood and this community," Hellesvig added.
 
OPRD Heritage Grants and Historic Cemetery Grants help communities preserve their cultural treasures.

McMinnville's "active teen area"

 Children on the climbing boulder at Discovery Meadows Community Park.
The climbing boulder quickly became a park attraction.
The transformation of McMinnville’s Discovery Meadows Community Park from a 22-acre parcel of farmland to an activity hub for the city’s fastest growing neighborhood is testimony to the impact OPRD grants can have on a community.
 
In 2003 the McMinnville Parks Department received a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant from OPRD to develop a state-of-the-art "active teen area" within this community park. The grant was for $90,000 – a 50 percent match – and included funding for design and engineering, site development, construction and landscaping.
 
The active teen area, according to Jay Pearson, McMinnville Parks Director, is the area of the park with a 12-foot climbing boulder, basketball courts and a modular skatepark, which has been "a monumental asset to this neighborhood and this community." The goal of this area was to develop a safe, close to home place for teens to enjoy. Other features of the park include a central plaza intended for special events, an outdoor water feature, a community playground, a wetland and a picnic area.
 
Pearson could not be more pleased with the results of this park, which opened in June 2005. Not only has it won a design award from the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association (ORPA), a nod to the park’s creativity and ingenuity, but it’s a place where the neighbors gather to play and hang out. "We’ve had a fantastic response," says Pearson, "it's the most used park facility in McMinnville."The park attracts teenagers for the rock boulder and skate park, adults to the basketball courts and families to the playground and picnic areas.
 
Grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of many ways OPRD carrys out our committment to promote outdoor recreation in Oregon.