The Bend Park & Recreation District moved a step closer to transforming a parcel of pine trees and dried grass in southeast Bend into a 37-acre public park with amenities not seen anywhere else in the city.
On Tuesday evening, the park board approved the master plan for Alpenglow Park, a proposed community park off of SE 15th Street, north of Knott Road.
“It looks like a fun park,” said Lauren Sprang, park district board member.
The district’s capital improvement plan calls for $8.8 million in system development charges for the park. Though the district hasn’t put a specific price tag on the park, Brian Hudspeth, development manager for the park district, said during the meeting that he expects the cost to be about that much.
“An $8.8 million budget will build a pretty nice park,” Hudspeth said.
In 2015, the park district purchased the 37-acre parcel with the aim of developing a park in a long-underserved corner of Bend. Hudspeth said the southeastern corner of Bend has a few smaller, neighborhood-level parks, but nothing designed to attract residents from all over the city.
“When you get south of Reed Market, and east of the train tracks, there aren’t a lot of parks,” Hudspeth said.
He added that Alpenglow Park, which got its name after park district staff picked from suggestions by students at nearby R.E. Jewell Elementary School, should help fill that void.
The park will feature climbing walls for both children and adults, along with areas for bouldering and slack-lining.
The park has several demonstration gardens, which will be developed in conjunction with Oregon State University’s Master Gardener Program. An open plaza will be able to accommodate food carts for special events, according to Hudspeth.
Within the park’s 5-acre dog park will be the first public “dog agility course” in Bend. While details for the specific course will be finalized later in the planning process, dog agility courses feature obstacles, including tunnels and hurdles, designed for canines. Hudspeth added that the course will be available for use by dogs of all sizes.
“We’re probably not going to be hosting dog agility trials out there, but it’s an area where people can go …if they’re training to do that,” Hudspeth said.
Alpenglow Park will also house the first splash pad at a public park in the city, though Hudspeth added that the district maintains one at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center. Splash pads are areas with fountains or nozzles that spray water, giving kids a place to play on hot summer days.
Hudspeth said the district has hosted three public meetings in the surrounding area, and sent out a survey to nearby residents, asking what features they were looking for in a community park. The master plan features 3 miles of paved and unpaved trails, in part due to feedback from residents.
Bill Galaway, chairman of the Southeast Bend Neighborhood Association, attended two of the meetings and said he was happy with the park’s design overall, though he was concerned access will be a challenge for residents living west of the train tracks, until the planned extension of Murphy Road is complete.
Park district plans call for a trail underneath the train tracks, as well as a paved path up to a nearby stretch of Central Oregon Irrigation District canal.
Ideally, Galaway said the park will help the neighborhood keep up with the population growth expected in the coming decades. No part of town will benefit more from the recent expansion of Bend’s urban growth boundary, as Galaway said more than half of the land added in the expansion occurred in southeastern Bend. A new middle school is slated for the area, and Galaway expects new residents to follow.
“We expect growth, if and when people start developing their property,” Galaway said.
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