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Ashland parks budget includes Greenway growth

ASHLAND ' The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission approved a &

36;5 million budget that includes money to extend the Bear Creek Greenway, resurface tennis courts and clean up Lithia Park's duck ponds.

The 2003-04 fiscal year budget must win final approval from the Ashland Citizens Budget Committee and the Ashland City Council.

The budget, approved at a Monday commission meeting, is slightly less than the current budget.

The greenway extension project is receiving a boost from Ashland's two Rotary clubs. Members have pledged at least &

36;10,000, plus labor and equipment.

It well may inspire others to join in on this trail or other trails, said parks commission member JoAnne Eggers.

The donation will augment &

36;30,000 set aside in the budget to extend the greenway about three-quarters of a mile from the Ashland dog park to North Mountain Park.

The department also is applying for a &

36;45,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for the work, according to Parks Director Ken Mickelsen.

The Ashland Woodlands and Trail Association is offering labor and equipment for the project.

Mickelsen said the work could be complete before 2005, with a dirt trail laid out initially, followed by asphalt surfacing.

Other budget items include &

36;185,000 to resurface deteriorating tennis courts and &

36;15,000 to &

36;30,000 for a truck and water tank to provide protection while wildfire fuels are thinned on park land.

Parks staff are investigating the costs of cleaning up Lithia Park's ponds, which are having water quality problems.