TALENT — A sand volleyball court and a splash pad set for installation this summer top the list of improvements at Chuck Roberts Park.
The city also has $15,000 in the proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget to match a park trails grant.
With Little League fields, tennis, pickle ball and basketball courts, a small picnic area and room to roam, the 11-acre park sees heavy use during warm weather. Parks commissioners decided last year to prioritize work at the park before doing more development in other city parks.
A splash pad was the most desired improvement requested by residents, said City Manager Tom Corrigan.
"It was our No. 1 item on our survey for all parks lands," said Corrigan.
Tentative design calls for a 40-by-40-by-30-foot triangular shape for the splash pad. The city is working with Ross Equipment on the design. Ross has already shipped the equipment, which cost $26,000. City crews will construct the pad. Parks funds will cover the costs.
"We are in the water business but will need certified electricians for it," said Corrigan. "Our guys will do the concrete work."
The pad's sprayers will be operated by touch. Runoff water will be directed to irrigate nearby shrubbery and trees. The spray jets use little water, and consumption is not expected to exceed that of an average household, said Corrigan.
The feature will be operational sometime during the summer, said Corrigan. It will be placed in the lower park area near the parking lot, picnic shelter and restrooms.
"Parents could come and sit under the shelter and watch the kids from 30 to 40 feet away," said Corrigan.
In the same area as other courts, the sand volleyball court is regulation size. Poles are wrapped with a protective covering designed to prevent injuries, said Corrigan.
City crews dug the pit, installed drainage and handled other details of the court's construction. Two hundred cubic yards of beach sand, which has the give required for the play courts, was hauled from the coast.
The sand cost $6,000, primarily for trucking, and equipment added $2,200 to the cost, which is covered by parks funds.
A new sign for Chuck Roberts Park will be installed at the corner of Talent Avenue and Rogue River Parkway. All other city parks are also getting new signs. Paving of the main parking lot at Chuck Roberts was completed last year.
New maple trees have been planted near the Little League fields. The fields look "really good" after undergoing rehabilitation last year, said Corrigan. Phoenix-Talent Little League maintains the fields under a lease agreement with the city.
A grant application for development of a $30,000 trails system is in the final stages of preparation for submission to a state recreational trails program in July. The city would use $15,000 in parks funds as a match.
Construction of part of the system might be undertaken even if the grant isn't awarded, said Martha Giardina, who is on a Parks Commission subcommittee preparing the application.
Four distinct trails would be created, said Corrigan. The trails would link sections of the park. A trail with exercise stations is also being explored.
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.