Millpond Crossing’s plans for a neighborhood park featuring a 1-acre pond with a dock, playgrounds, picnic tables, shade trees and a sports court attracted plenty of discussion among Philomath Park Advisory Board members Thursday.
City Manager Chris Workman shared the latest information on the proposed park, which included a look at an engineering layout submitted by the developer.
Millpond Crossing, a development with plans to construct 169 homes in five phases, is required to build the neighborhood park as part of its agreement with the city. The 3-acre park is to be constructed and turned over to the city before building permits are to be issued for Phase 3.
The park will be located north of Chapel Drive and east of South 16th Street, a road to be completed as part of Phase 2. The other bordering streets will be constructed as part of Phase 3 — Bullback Street to the north and Cross Cut Lane to the east.
Unlike any other park in Philomath, the green space would include a pond as its central feature. Workman went through various planned components.
“The intent is to fully encircle the pond with this 4-foot-high fence,” Workman said while referring to the schematic. “That’s recognition that this is a neighborhood, there’s kids around and some of those kids will be unsupervised at times. We don’t want any of these kids running down there and getting stuck in the mud and getting hurt, or drowning in a worst-case scenario.”
Workman said the developer intends to landscape areas in front of the fencing. A gate with a latch will be installed for access to a dock.
“There’s still some questions on the dock and some of it’s going to come down to some more formal engineering and how much water’s going to stay in there in different times of the year,” Workman said. “Initially we were thinking like a floating dock; we’re thinking now this might be a solid dock that’s on piers that goes out into the water so even if the water on the edge dries up, you’re not walking out over the mud or anything.”
Workman said that the pond is currently engineered to be no deeper than 4 feet, which could potentially create possibilities for nonmotorized watercraft such as canoes. But in general, the city manager characterized it as a duck pond.
A previous discussion on the park last year indicated that it could be a fishing spot.
“We haven’t started entering into discussions about stocking it with fish or any of that yet,” Workman added. “This is just kind of an initial look here of what the layout’s going to be.”
Workman said swimming would not be allowed in the pond.
Elsewhere at the site, developer Levi Miller will pay for playground equipment with a commitment in the neighborhood of $30,000 for a larger playground for school-age children and around $10,000 for a smaller one meant for toddlers.
Board members viewed examples of ADA-compliant playground equipment in those price ranges as provided by Miller but the developer is open to other suggestions, Workman added.
Board members did ask if something other than the colorful, prefabricated playground equipment could be considered.
“It would be nice to have something more natural … more wood perhaps,” board member Lindy Young said.
Rose Bricker, also a board member, agreed.
“If we’re going with more of a timber town theme for the Main Street, what if we’re tying that in and making wooden playground equipment,” she said.
Workman said it could be a possibility if those alternative playground structures fall within the developer’s price point. He invited board members to come up with visuals of what they might like and email images to him.
Plans call for the construction of a sports court, which would likely include a basketball hoop but might also include dimensions that would make it possible to have side-by-side pickleball courts.
Picnic tables are not required through the agreement with the city, but the developer appears to be planning to include two or three. Bike racks are also in the plans.
The park’s design also includes parking on the east side, a feature that Workman said he’s glad to see.
“Even though this is a neighborhood park, they’ve created quite a bit of parking here,” Workman said. “There’s pros and cons to that … but this kind of begs the question, ‘are people from outside this immediate neighborhood going to be coming and driving to this good-sized neighborhood park’ and I think that’s a fair assumption to make.”
The developer is required to pay for a bike-pedestrian path along Chapel Drive, which will tie in to a transportation system that will ultimately connect Bellfountain Road to South 13th Street.
The park does not include plans for any restrooms, a facility that comes with a high price tag. Workman said a porta potty could be situated on the site.
Finally, the board wondered what the park might be called and that has not yet been determined. Miller Park could be appropriate with the Miller family financing the subdivision. A board member suggested Hobin Park because the site for many years was the location of the Hobin Mill and it would provide a historical connection.
“That’s a discussion for another day,” Workman said.
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