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MailTribune.com
  • Commons playground park take shape

    Outside the new Lithia headquarters, a playground and park come to life at The Commons
  • A playground and a new downtown park are taking shape next to the headquarters of Lithia Motors and will be open to the public by the end of the month.
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  • A playground and a new downtown park are taking shape next to the headquarters of Lithia Motors and will be open to the public by the end of the month.
    "This isn't just a plaza for Lithia," said City Councilman Dick Gordon, who is president of the Medford Urban Renewal Agency board. "This is a city park."
    Gordon said he's been approached by some local residents who don't realize the park belongs to the city, not to Lithia.
    Workers are installing landscaping, pavers and other features in the park, which is one of the focal points in The Commons, a project designed to pump life into the downtown. Shade structures could not be installed this week because of the wind.
    A colorful playground with a slide is one of the most distinctive features in the new park, and a rubberized surface has been installed, creating a spongy feel that will help prevent injuries in case of falls.
    A second park, which will likely have a large lawn area, will be built after the beginning of next year just to the north of the new park.
    Officials are still discussing whether to keep a wall and large doorway left over from the former Greyhound bus station on the site.
    The wall has been preserved as a possible entrance for the second park and to serve as a historical reminder of what previously stood on the property.
    The City Council has questioned the cost of bracing the wall and restoring it, estimated at about $50,000.
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