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Cannon Beach looks at parks plan

An improved dory boat launching in Tolovana, a restroom near Haystack Rock and safer transit options for walkers and bikers are among the proposed projects that could be part of Cannon Beach’s first parks and trails master plan. After gathering input from residents, a citizens advisory group and the Public Works Department, park planners will draft the master plan by the end of December. After review by the advisory group, the draft could come to the City Council in February.

At an open house last week, residents carefully looked at maps displaying potential plans for future parks and trails. They spoke to park planners and city employees, marked ideas on the maps and placed stickers by proposed projects they considered important.

“We’ve narrowed things down,” said Kirk Anderson, a city public works employee who is involved in the planning process. “Prioritizing is one more big step.”

Otak planner Mandy Flett said identifying priorities early on could help the city meet deadlines and receive funding for projects. There are no cost estimates yet.

Trail projects marked as high priority included a bike and pedestrian route west of Hemlock Street along Pacific, a path under the bridge at Ecola Creek Park and a trail from Elk Run Park to Hemlock Street.

Possible park projects are canoe and kayak launches at Les Shirley Park, Ecola Creek Park and Oxbow and Second Street. Other ideas included NeCus’ Park improvements that respect the site’s Native American heritage, a bridge below the water-treatment plant to complete the loop, and a better boat ramp for dory launching at Tolovana State Park, with accompanying wheelchair access to wet sand.

Many of the projects can be completed in one to five years, while others could take up to 10 years.

City parks provide opportunities for interpretive signs on ecology, history, water treatment, archaeology and tsunami preparation, according to the master plan information.

A proposed multiuse path parallel to U.S. Highway 101 would connect Tolovana to midtown. The trail would provide a safer and less hilly route for pedestrians and cyclists, separate from traffic on the S-curves.

Another possible project could be converting Tolovana State Park to city ownership, moving its aging restrooms by the beach and making further enhancements.

Tolovana State Park “could be a gem for the city,” Otak senior planner Glen Bolen said. “The journey to the beach could be a journey, not just a parking lot.”