Ashland Japanese Garden prepares to open

ASHLAND, Ore. —The Ashland Japanese Garden has gotten a facelift, after being closed for two years.  While some work still remains on the garden, it’s approaching its opening date.

The $1.6 million project, that’s been years in the making is preparing to be unveiled to the public.  The Ashland Parks and Rec Commission says an expenditure on a garden like this, is rare.

The community of Ashland will soon have a tranquil environment to visit.  The Ashland Japanese Garden is preparing to open up to the public, after being closed for years.

“This Japanese Garden has been under construction for the last 2 years, we spent a portion of the last 3 years working out a plan and going through concepts with different designers and committees to fit the idea for what we need here,” said Parks & Rec Director, Michael Black.

The city’s iconic Lithia Park has had a Japanese-style garden within the park for over 100 years. But Black says it hasn’t risen to the level of a true Japanese garden.

“The old garden which was just a Japanese-style garden and had a lot of issues with accessibility and infrastructure and a lot of the flora was on its way out so it needed a lot of work anyways,” said Black.

That’s all changing thanks to a roughly $1.3 million donation from Ashland resident, Jeff Mangin. The former Japanese garden and the Lithia Park beauty that surrounds it, attracted him to the project.

“For the local community to have something more that we could really enjoy in Lithia Park and something that could attract various kinds of activities, a place for the locals to just come and enjoy Ashland in a new way,” said Mangin.

The team worked to take advantage and build off what was already here, and yet still bring in something new. The big changes include a new path in the garden. You’ll now experience 6 different gardens from the beginning to the end.

“You’ll go through a natural garden a bamboo garden, a moss garden a sand and stone garden, and so on, and people will have the opportunity to experience those wherein was previously one place we’ve created multiple elements within the area,” said Black.

Some elements are still being incorporated from the old garden like the large maple trees.  Both Black and Mangin are excited to unveil the project to the community.

“It’s been 7 years since I walked into Michael’s office saying I have an idea I wanna do something, we’re here and it’s incredibly exciting for sure,” said Mangin.

The team is working now on putting the finishing touches on the garden. A grand opening for the garden will take place on October 22nd, at 1 pm.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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