By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Amity receives park improvement grant

“Our contribution can be cash or in-kind,” City Administrator Larry Layton said. “We will use city employees, but we’re also looking for volunteers to do some of the work that will be done as part of our match.”

The project features a set of restrooms, covered picnic area, nature play area and hiking trail. Existing restrooms will be removed, electrical lines will be buried and the parking lot resurfaced with a type of pavement allowing water to pass through.

“The council is very excited about this grant and the ability it gives us to make improvements to the park that have been planned for several years,” Mayor Mike Cape said.

He added, “The new restrooms and covered area will improve the events that are held in the park each spring and summer, provide more activities for the patrons of our park and improve the handicapped accessibility.”

Cape called this the next step in the city’s ongoing effort to develop a more extensive park system for residents.

The city has seen an increase in park use beyond the annual Easter egg hunt hosted by the Amity Fire District and the annual pancake breakfast put on by the Amity Valley Women’s Club. The park is used for reunions, weddings, free family entertainment offerings and programs like National Night Out.

Councilors view the grant as an opportunity to make the park more appealing to users.

“In addition to the major improvements of the restrooms and covered picnic area, this grant will allow us to build a nature play area for small children and a hiking trail around the park to increase the opportunity for exercise and healthy activities for residents of all ages,” said Councilor Rudy van Soolen, who oversees the city’s Parks and Street Committee.

The city plans to finalize design details in the next couple of months and then solicit bids. It hopes to award a contract in time for a spring start and summer completion next year.

“We’re real excited,” Layton said. “There were 35 applicants, and we ranked No. 7. We scored high, considering this was a statewide application process.”

He said the need is compelling, particularly with respect to the restrooms.

“The restrooms have been an embarrassment for the city,” he said. “That’s something we have been trying to do for a long time. They are not handicap accessible. We moved a portable toilet in four or five months ago after receiving a handicap accessible complaint.”

Anyone interested in assisting the city with meeting its match is asked to contact Layton at 503-835-3711.

He said a woodchip donation may be forthcoming.

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