A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Think ahead to kids playing here in ’24

Written February 26th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Forget the stumps and visualize kids using a new playground in this part of Monteith Riverpark.

Sunday was another cold day in February. I took one more bike ride to Albany’s Monteith Riverpark, where on Saturday more trees were cut down.

As the photo shows, it looked bleak. But it won’t stay that way.

What you’re looking at, roughly, is the site of a planned new playground, part of the overall renovation of the park along with the Dave Clark Riverfront Path and the western end of Water Avenue.

Renderings of the design for the project are available online. Here’s a section of that design, which I lifted from the Waterfront Project pages on the website of the City of Albany:

You can look at the whole layout of the design by going to “http://albanywaterfront.net/”

The playground will replace the old one at the far west end of the park, according to the drawing. Just north of the new playground is where the planned splash pad for children will be built.

The contractor, K&E Excavating, has told the city council the park renovation can be accomplished by the end of this year.

If that works out as planned, by the summer of 2024 the cold days of this winter will be long forgotten.

Instead, if you visit the Monteith Riverpark then, you’ll see kids romping around the playground and splashing through the water jets.

Assuming it’s a warm day with plenty of sun. (hh)

21 responses to “Think ahead to kids playing here in ’24”

  1. Rdjourney says:

    There are plenty of neighborhood parks that could use that funding to update and leave Monteith Park for more older park users. Splash pad is not a good idea with the ease of access to the river.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    Hasso, thank you for posting the design rendering. It shall be a beautiful park with more amenities for all ages! We are moving on it! And wish safety in mind on the planning.

  3. Anony Mouse says:

    What private development will this ignite that provides a budget boost for local taxing entities?

    You reported previously that the city has claimed it will happen.

    If you or CARA can’t show us the money, then we should rightly conclude that this project is a broken promise or an act of government deception, or both.

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “If you build it they will come…”

    • Cap B. says:

      Ray, where are the hordes of shoppers that CARA said would come to downtown Albany after the Carousel was built? And, have you been inside the spruced-up and renamed Sr. Center? It is often empty now that the city, in their questionable wisdom, took away the gift shop, the pool table, the bulletin board with people’s business cards posted, the magazines, the coffee/visiting area….that is, the welcoming, warm atmosphere. Just sayin’.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Literally, *many-many thousands* of people have come to & enjoyed the Carousel. It has attracted people exactly as it was designed to do!

        Since I’m at the Carousel 4-days a week, I see their parking lot very full most days. I have been to the Riverfront Community Center several times & my wife takes yoga classes there twice a week. It is not lacking for patronage…

        • Cap B. says:

          Ray, The “Community Center” is not entirely without people, but they had signs for months all along the front begging for people. The signs said, “Children, welcome, Teens welcome, Quilters welcome, Seniors welcome, Card players welcome, etc.” Ask whoever is sitting knitting or reading in their new coffee shop how many patrons they have? I dare ‘ya. Oh, and one of the classes sponsored by the City (LBCC rents space there and some classes are offered by the City) went from $53 tuition for one term (4 terms a year) to $96 a term.
          And, you say they don’t need patronage! Yes, they do, and they aren’t getting enough people, so they raised rates almost half on a city-sponsored class.

        • Cap B. says:

          Ray, one more comment: Those “many, many thousands” (to quote you) people who have visited the carousel are 50% or so children…more than half of them, I would estimate. And these children are not interested in downtown Albany’s boutique shops and real estate and insurance offices and expensive restaurants (restaurants that are open only half of the time). So, you and CARA are spending millions of tax-payers’ money on kid-ifying the park for comfortably well-off children.

    • MarK says:

      Once, maybe twice. Still not worth the cost.

  5. DeEm says:

    Just curious. Who will be paying the water bill for the water that splash pad will use? Or is the city going to pass on that cost to us with our already way too high “utility” bills?

  6. Sharon Konopa says:

    Okay, some of you will grit your teeth over what I am going to say and some will agree.

    Folks, having a walking path along our two rivers isn’t enough of an attraction for revitalizing this area of town. We always knew the carousel was the foundation for bringing energy to the downtown area, but we still needed restaurants for the kids to enjoy and other attractions.

    If any of you have taken your grandkids to the carousel and after they ride it several times, eat lunch, shop in the gift shop, us grandparents are worn out, but the little ones are still full of energy. I have several times driven to a playground for them to play, as Monteith’s at times is not safe.

    I am one who pushed for the new playground and splash pad. There was a community effort several years ago for a splash pad, after Takena Park’s kiddie pool was shut down. That is when a new splash pad was needed in the community and it fit perfectly with the waterfront project. Monteith has always had a playground, but for years needed a major upgrade.

    We all love our concerts at Monteith, but five weeks of concerts during the summer is underutilizing the waterfront. What’s wrong with more amenities?

    Monteith Park and our riverfront throughout Albany attract some people who seem to think they want to use it as their bedroom. Having more children in this area will hopefully move the bedroom dwellers away from this park and, as they should, go to the homeless shelters.

    From day one with CARA was for public and private projects, so the comments about no tax increment generated with the waterfront improvements is not an excuse to oppose this waterfront project. The waterfront was in the plan for the past 20 years. Our very first CARA public project on 1st Ave sparked the private investments on 1st. Urban renewal is for both public and private.

    It breaks my heart when I hear of families not being able to afford more than one ride or any rides at the carousel. When that child looks in the window of the carousel, but knows they can not afford a ride, at least they will have other park amenities to attend. Now how can anyone be against that?

    Children are our future and having fun attractions for them to enjoy is healthy for a community. I can’t wait to see the smiles on kid’s faces, and my grandkids, when they see the splash pad and playground.

    • Anony Mouse says:

      approx 55,000 gallons per day x 112 days of use = approx 6,160,000 gallons of fresh water per season, plus the cost of upkeep

      1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons

      6,160,000 gallons divided by 7.48 means over 823,500 cubic feet of water consumed

      What will the bill be for this much consumption?

      Is a splash pad a public necessity, or a reckless waste of natural resources and local taxes?

      • Bob Woods says:

        A public amenity, like parks and roads and water that’s clean to drink. Stuff that people whether they’re poor or rich can partake of without requirements of race, creed, color, or economic status.

        It’s for the people. ALL the people.

        It’s what conservative right-wingers LOATHE. People working together as a community to make everyone’s life just a little bit better, instead of having to pay for access to a private pool or splash pad that you could make money on.

        So what is it in your life that makes you oppose kids having some fun?

        Bad parenting.

      • Abe Cee says:

        Pipe the water directly from the river, problem solved.

    • Mac says:

      Last year I pulled into the park to eat my lunch real quick while working. Was disgusted by the open air drug dealing and some tweaked out menacing guy circling the park on his bmx bike yelling at everyone… I wouldn’t take my kids there, just making a nicer area for the losers to hang out. How about police officers simply circle through the parking lot when they are in the area? They should be in the area a lot if they are not.

    • Cap B. says:

      So, let me get this straight. We (the people) are spending over a million dollars on a splash pad, and cutting down precious trees in the process, because the former mayor wanted the splash pad. And, as mayor, she was a member of the city council and therefore a member of CARA. Yes, good ol’ CARA. So, she proposed the splash pad.

      All this so her grandchildren, when rambunctious after a few rides on the carousel, can go to the splash pad in Monteith Park. Can’t the kiddies be told to “hold their horses,” and be taken home to a kiddie pool in their own backyard?

      • Sharon Konopa says:

        The splash pad was my opinion over the proposed waterfront amenities. And I was only one person out of hundreds with the same opinion. If you wanted a different amenity for this area, then what did you propose at that time? I however, did not get to vote for this final plan. I am pleased the kiddie pieces were added to the final plan from the current members.
        Are you insinuating, Cap B, Albany should not have any new activities for children?
        And there is thousands of children in our community that live in housing that do not have a back yard for a kiddie pool or let alone for a swing set.

        • Cap B. says:

          My reply is (or is that :”are”…no, it is is): My proposal at the time would have been leave the park alone. Oh, speaking of the word, is, check your grammar usage on your last sentence. Since you are a former mayor, using the proper grammar would be good. Just trying to help.

  7. CHEZZ says:

    I think the splash pad water recycles.
    Complain — and Remain.

  8. chris j says:

    If you want to tug on our heart strings to justify using money for children not being able to pay for entertainment, I wonder why the children without their daily needs met are not the priority instead? Maybe the city should use the money to satisfy children’s needs not their wants, then supply the children free rides with the extra money saved by not cutting all the trees. Old fashion ideas of a community helping each other are the true key to create a city to be proud of and implement some truly beneficial progressive improvements. Stop poring money into project buckets with holes in them. Band aid fixes such as large homeless shelters and superficial projects direct money from more permanent solutions to a better functioning community. .

  9. Julz says:

    Just wonering why they didn’t simply upgrade the spot where the playground is? They wouldn’t need to cut down trees, and wouldn’t have a water use issue.


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