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MailTribune.com
  • 'Major upgrade' for Alba Park

    New sidewalks, lights, trees part of MURA's $250,000 project, the biggest at city's oldest green space since 1985
  • Alba Park will be closed until Oct. 19 as workers install new sidewalks, street lights and trees in Medford's oldest public green space.
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  • Alba Park will be closed until Oct. 19 as workers install new sidewalks, street lights and trees in Medford's oldest public green space.
    The Medford Urban Renewal Agency committed $250,000 to improving Alba, including tearing out old asphalt sidewalks and replacing them with concrete.
    Batzer Construction of Medford began working on the new walkways, including one that will meander along the Ivy Street side.
    Concrete also will be poured around the park's band shell to give visitors a drier surface to stand on during events.
    Ivy Street, which bisects the two-block property holding the park and the old Carnegie Library grounds, also will be closed during the construction period that started Monday. The grounds around the former library will remain open.
    Within a couple of weeks, bids will be received to build a new 9-foot-wide sidewalk on the Holly Street side of the park, along with four street lights. Only a 12-foot-wide section along Holly will be closed while the sidewalk is being installed. There are currently no sidewalks on Ivy or Holly streets adjacent to the park.
    Councilman Al Densmore said he's eager to show off the improved Alba Park to visitors from Medford's sister city, Alba, Italy.
    "It will be a major upgrade," he said. "The most significant thing the Carnegie Library committee determined is that we should look at this two-block asset in the center of the city and do what we can to upgrade it."
    The committee was formed after the county's main library was moved to a new building on Central Avenue and the Carnegie building reverted to the city.
    Densmore said the improvements will be the most significant change to the park since Herb Gifford, a local craftsman, built the bandshell for Medford's centennial celebration in 1985.
    Other changes included cutting down old trees and replacing them with younger varieties.
    Restoration of the "dog" fountain also has been included in the park's upgrade.
    Dedicated in 1934, the Italian-marble fountain features a small pool and a statue of a boy and two cocker spaniels. It originally was designed to be a dog fountain, but a fence later was added to keep children out of the pool.
    In the near future, the city will install more street lights in the park.
    The 1.5-acre park was part of a donation to the city in 1910 by the Oregon Transcontinental Railway. It originally had dirt walkways, a horseshoe pitch, seating areas and a metal fountain believed to have been donated in the early days of the Greater Medford Club.
    By 1931, it was dedicated as a public park featuring a large metal fountain in the center.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.
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