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MailTribune.com
  • Greenway project targets Hawthorne restoration

  • Asafer, better-lighted Bear Creek Greenway through Medford could cost up to $213,000, the City Council discovered Thursday.
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  • Asafer, better-lighted Bear Creek Greenway through Medford could cost up to $213,000, the City Council discovered Thursday.
    Medford police, council members and residents have been concerned about criminal behavior and vagrancy along the Greenway and at Hawthorne Park.
    "It would be great to have Hawthorne Park used by people other than those who use it now," said Molly Kreuzman with Coyote Trails Nature Center, one of the partners involved in a restoration proposal.
    "We want to make the Greenway safer and more accessible," said Brian Sjothun, director of parks and recreation.
    The area that would be cleaned up extends from McAndrews Road to 10th Street.
    The restoration plan, prepared by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, estimated the cost at between $108,000 and $213,000.
    The Medford Parks and Recreation Department presented a five-year plan to remove blackberries and other invasive species, followed by the monitoring of native plants to ensure their survival over a five-year period.
    Sjothun said the city, working with partners in the community, would secure grants for the restoration and would seek volunteers for the work.
    Councilor John Michaels said he's seen litter and other debris left over from illegal camping along the Greenway.
    "What is being done about underneath the bridges?" he said.
    Sjothun said that camping and trash problems under the bridges hasn't been addressed yet. Michaels suggested installing lighting that would discourage vagrants from sleeping under the bridges.
    Much of the restoration work will be along the eastern banks of the river, most of which is public land.
    Sjothun said the city will work with businesses on the west side that are interested in restoring their river banks.
    The city recently cleaned up a stretch of the Greenway on the west side, south of the Inn at the Commons, formerly the Red Lion Inn.
    The Medford Arts Commission has proposed the installation of some kind of art project to soften the Interstate 5 viaduct that looms above Bear Creek on one edge of Hawthorne Park.
    Medford officials are looking at a $1.7 million proposal to redesign Hawthorne Park in an effort to create a more family-friendly environment.
    The city removed the swimming pool in the park earlier this year after it was found to be leaking 30,000 gallons a day. Bathrooms in the park have also been removed and will be replaced sometime next summer.
    So far, the Medford Urban Renewal Agency has authorized $1 million toward the park rehabilitation. If other projects on MURA's list come in under budget, the unspent dollars would be applied to the park.
    The plan includes a spray pad, basketball courts, artwork and two dog parks — for small and large dogs.
    New walkways would be built throughout the park, along with new lighting, improved irrigation equipment and many new plants.
    A base plan to renovate the park would cost almost $1.5 million, or $500,000 more than MURA previously had earmarked for the project.
    Sjothun said the restoration plan envisions tackling five segments of the Greenway between 10th and McAndrews.
    "Hawthorne Park is the catalyst," he said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.
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