CENTRAL POINT, Ore.- Central Point is in the process of creating a new 50 acre park within the Bear Creek Greenway.
After a grass fire tore through the area around the time of the Almeda fire, Central Point discovered the space had a lot of community potential. The September 2020 wildfire devastated a small part of Central Point’s section of the Bear Creek Greenway, but it also helped the city deal with a huge invasive plant problem. Blackberry bushes have long made the Greenway fire prone and made the space unusable. Central Point Park Planner Dave Jacob said they also added a lot of fuel to the fire.
“Well it was actually kind of amazing to see. I mean, it was not- it was a tragic event, of course, but out of that, it just really opened up this area,” Jacob told NBC5, “This [the Greenway] was completely covered in blackberries. You couldn’t even walk back here at that time”.
With the large amount of space now available, and the discovery of the one trail and two ponds, Central Point wanted to find a way to give the land back to the community while also reducing fire risk. The design plan to create a community park started to come together after the city acquired the land last year. It’s considering a disc golf course, a mountain bike skills course, a natural playground, a bicycle pump track and even a dog park.
“We just had… an open house a couple weeks ago where we invited the public to provide input as well,” Jacob said, “We’ll have public meetings next year to review and finalize those plans, so we do want the public involved in this process and we welcome any comments”.
Jacob says the area has had issues with maintenance and homeless in the past, but the city is hoping this project will give new life to the space. With $3 million already pledged towards the plan from Urban Renewal, Jacob sees a bright future for the Greenway.
“We want to take ownership of this. It’s a special place and I think… it deserved to be taken care of. I think our community, once they learn about this area and get them out here, I think… it’s really going to transform into… something great for our community,” Jacob told NBC5.
Jacob couldn’t say when the community meetings discussing the design plans for the park will take place in the future, but NBC5 will continue to follow this story.
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