County crews created a winding pathway and installed picnic tables today in the stretch of property adjacent to the Municipal Building parking lot along Central Avenue. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Workers create a walking path and install picnic tables today in vacant land along Central Avenue. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Crews installed picnic tables and created a winding pathway as the beautification project nears completion on the stretch of property adjacent to the Municipal Building parking lot along Central Avenue, crews
The vacant land is now populated with native grasses, 11 hybrid Cottonwood trees, several picnic tables and benches and a winding path. Community members are invited to walk through the area as well as bring their lunch or a snack and sit and enjoy being outside.
The beautification project was designed with cost and efficiencies in mind, because a portion of the property is scheduled to eventually house a retail project near the southwest end of the parking lot (1010 Central). The County is continuing to pursue that as part of its goals for downtown redevelopment.
However, the County had received comments last summer and again this spring about establishing some landscaping along this prime stretch of land located along Central Avenue, for proactive weed control and trash abatement, which spurred the idea of creating a small park-like picnic area as a temporary solution for use of the space.
“The picnic benches can be relocated to another park when the County makes a decision to proceed with the retail project,” said Randy Smith, Open Space and Recreation Manager. “The trees are relatively inexpensive, but their size will allow them to provide some shade for the benches. The materials being used in the landscaping and pathway are low maintenance and low cost. They can be easily removed later with little cost or labor.”
The County does not have any proposals currently being considered for the property at 1010 Central Ave., on the southwest corner, although a Council committee is being formed to evaluate options. Smith said that even if a plan is approved, it could still be at least one or two years before the retail project would be built out. Leaving the area in its current condition was not desirable, especially with tourism expected to increase in the next year as the Manhattan Project National Historical Park moves forward, bringing more visitors to the downtown area and Bradbury Museum located next door.
“The picnic area provides visitors to our downtown area with another lunch-time option for outside dining with food purchased at the surrounding restaurants or sandwich shops. It’s in a good location. Plus, the park is conveniently located near the bus stop, so that travelers can sit in the park area and relax while waiting for the bus,” Smith said.
The total budget for creating the small park was less than $8,000.