Medford taps parks budget to finish MURA's downtown parks

Two parks in The Commons project fell short by about $171,000

A $171,000 shortfall for two new downtown parks near the Lithia Motors headquarters was plugged Thursday when City Council agreed to take the money from the Parks and Recreation Department budget.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency is running low on funds as it winds down The Commons, a $14.1 million project to transform a run-down section of Medford. The Lithia headquarters is one of the main features of the redevelopment project.

MURA built a new park at the corner of Sixth Street and Bartlett Avenue. A second park just to the north will be built this summer after MURA selected KOGAP Enterprises Inc. of Medford as the low bidder at a cost of $1,690,953. The city worked with the contractor to find ways to cut back on construction costs to $1,526,953.

City Finance Director Alison Chan determined the Medford Urban Renewal Agency had only $1,373,338 left for The Commons.

The Parks and Recreation Department money will cover the $153,615 shortfall for the new park. The money will pay for a stage structure and dressing room.

The city also will install tables and chairs in the completed park at a cost of $21,000.

MURA anticipates the second park will be finished sometime before Christmas.

One of the main features of the new park will be a large, living fir tree at the north end that will serve as the primary Christmas tree during the holiday season. The large fir will be surrounded by three smaller fir trees, which also will be lighted.

A grassy area in the center of the new park will be available for picnics or activities most days of the week. When events are held, the grassy area can hold more than 1,000 people, who would have a good view of the stage. About 200 seats will be available for rent near the stage.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or

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