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Commons park was opened this week

There's been a lot of talk about the new parks in downtown Medford next to Lithia headquarters. I've been driving by a couple of times a week, and I keep seeing yellow tape around one of the parks. Isn't it finished yet? I've also noticed a security guard patrolling the area. Does that guy belong to Lithia? Is he just protecting the Lithia building, or is he keeping people away from the park?

— Robert P., Medford

The yellow tape is gone, and the park opened to the public this week, Robert. The city plans to hold a ribbon-cutting and grand opening sometime in March.

On Friday, children were actually playing in the new playground, which has a rubberized surface that's almost like a trampoline when you jump up and down on it.

The park, at the corner of Sixth and Bartlett streets, sits next to the Lithia Motors headquarters. The park is one of the features of The Commons, which is designed to attract other businesses and maybe even a hotel or two in the future.

A second park block is scheduled for construction later this spring and will feature a stage, a grassy area and other features.

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency has contributed $14.1 million toward The Commons. Lithia has invested $18 million into its headquarters.

As to the security guard, he's someone Lithia has hired to provide security for its employees for a couple of hours in the afternoon around quitting time.

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