BY BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Renovations to one of Redmond’s original parks are nearing completion.
The new Baker Park in Redmond features playground equipment that children of all ages will enjoy, including a multi-level climbing structure with ladders, swings, slides, speaking tubes and a soft rubber surface for when, not if, when children fall down and go boom.
Collectively, it’s a major improvement over the original playground.
“The playground structure is actually very special. Since this was one of the original parks in Redmond, we wanted to pay tribute to the history of Redmond,” said Annie McVay, Redmond parks manager. “So the playground is actually a tribute to our historic downtown 6th Street. It has the Redmond Hotel, the Lynch and Roberts and it has what used to be the old Cent Wise Hardware sign showing Baker Park now.”
The Portland Trail Blazers kickstarted funding for the park by donating $15,000 based on the number of assists they made during the 2017-2018 NBA regular season.
Redmond beat out two other Oregon cities in an online voting contest for the Trail Blazers donation that McVay described as “crazy fun.”
“We did a community survey. Everybody within a half mile of this park and we also put it on Facebook,” she said. “A lot of people didn’t want to over-develop the park but they definitely wanted upgraded facilities, new play structures, a walking path…so that’s what we are implementing now.”
While raking leaves that she says blow into her yard from the park, neighbor Susan Tunno expressed concerns that water-wasting juniper trees remain and use of herbicides will continue in the park.
“Let it be a really safe and wonderful example of how a city park should be with today’s awareness: Water conservation, no herbicides, save the bees, let the dandelions grow,” Tunno said.
Due to an early freeze this fall, new sod and new irrigation systems won’t be finished until next spring but Baker Park’s trailside exercise stations, shade structure and new playground should be accessible in November.