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Since You Asked

Can someone tell me what is happening with the entrance off Highland into Bear Creek Park by the skatepark? The new driveway appears to have been completed some time ago, but there are still barriers in place. Also, why the new driveway? Lastly, when is the mosquito pit next to the new driveway going to be drained or filled in?

— John R., Medford

Several questions on this park feature poured in at Since You Asked headquarters, (Jim D., we hope you're reading) so we turned to Pete Young, a planner with the Medford Parks and Recreation Department.

The feature you described as a "mosquito pit" and other questioning readers referred to as a swamp is actually listed as a "significant wetland," Young explained. It's been there for decades, but was largely obscured by blackberry brambles until the work began on the new park entrance.

As the new south Medford interchange on Interstate 5 increases traffic on Highland Drive, city officials decided that, for safety reasons, the park entrance should line up with Greenwood Street. That eliminates a confusion of access points and opens the way for a traffic light possibly being installed at the intersection someday, Young said. The old driveway will become a walkway.

Construction disrupted the wetland that is fed by groundwater and storm runoff, so new wetlands must be created, Young said. Such work can only be done between June 15 and Sept. 15. The new driveway and an open area slated to become a parking area later will serve as a staging area for the wetland work. So the new driveway won't open until that is done.

Bill's Backhoe Service, which has a nearly $163,000 contract for the park entrance project, plans to tackle the wetland work soon, putting appropriate plants and other finishing touches in place.

And about those mosquitoes: Young said Jackson County vector control experts place little mosquito-eating fish in the water to control the little bloodsuckers.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.