Benton County has completed a conceptual master plan for North Albany County Park, where more than a hundred "hazard trees" weakened by drought and bugs were removed last year. Friday's windstorm felled a few more, laying them across a house near the entrance to the park.
The county developed the master plan after gathering public comments last year. The plan also covers a wooded natural area, separate from the park, near the corner of Valley View and Crocker Lane that was donated to the county by the developer of the Albany Heights subdivision. A path running through the subdivision would connect the wooded parcel to the park.
For the park itself, the concept envisions upgrading the existing playground and adding a new one, at the southwest corner. Also planned: Replacing the restroom, upgrading the main shelter, building a basketball half court in the place now taken by a volleyball court, adding some parking, and designating an area where dogs can be let off their leashes.
There would be pedestrian entrances connecting the park to new subdivisions to the east and west.
Check out the maps showing the master plan concepts here.
The upgraded playground may or may not retain the lifeboat that's been there for decades. I asked about this, and Laurie Starha, interim county parks director (since Jeff Powers retired), replied: "The input from the community meetings showed a strong preference in keeping the boat... As we get further along, it is our intention to evaluate the safety aspect, maintenance needs and costs to restore and keep the boat long term."
No word on how soon any of the master plan concepts are to be carried out. (hh)