Sunrise upgrade: Pretty soon now

Maybe this view, taken Jan. 6, explains why the Sunrise playground was part of a recognized "wetland."

If you're wondering what happened to the long-gestating plans to renovate Albany's Sunrise Park, wonder no more. The city parks department hopes to call for bids on the project by the first week of February.

"That will keep us on track to start construction in the spring, weather permitting," Parks and Recreation Director Ed Hodney told me by email. "Once a contractor is secured, our park maintenance folks will begin demolition in advance of construction work."

The renovation has been planned since 2013 as part of Albany's approach to using federal grant money to improve conditions for residents of low to moderate income. The city has budgeted $239,000 for the project during the current budget year.

For a while the project was delayed when it was determined that the park includes "wetlands" deserving of protection under state and federal rules. This forced the city to spend $38,000 in anti-poverty grant money to purchase credits in a Eugene wetlands "bank" to make up for the loss of wetlands in the park.

When I visited the park on Jan. 6, there was a puddle under the swings in the playground. So yes, the playground does qualify as being wet after it has rained.

The city planning division approved a site plan for the Sunrise changes in September. The plan calls for removing the shelters and the playground. A new playground will be built at the north end of the site, and there will also be a parking lot of 15 spaces, with access from Thurston Street. The idea is to improve access and visibility to cut down on vandalism and related problems. (hh)

These shelters, where graffiti have been painted over, will be demolished as part of the Sunrise Park renovation.

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