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Ruhl Park remodel not yet finished

I live near Ruhl Park in east Medford. Until recently, this park was small but charming with a fun little train engine that children loved to climb on and around. Our family watched with interest as the park was recently "renovated," i.e. trees removed, swing removed, train removed, scooper toy removed, bark removed, and the play area filled with rocks. We are curious why this remodel was necessary, and we are now wondering if there are plans to restore this park to a more child-friendly place.

— Spencer, Medford

The head honcho at Medford's Parks and Recreation Department, Brian Sjothun, says the remodel was necessary to replace "outdated and dangerous" equipment. The good news, Spencer, is that new equipment is scheduled to be installed soon.

Sjothun said the parks department is using a lottery-funded grant from the state Parks and Recreation Department to remove hazardous trees and old playground and basketball equipment. The grant also will allow them to install a new play structure, with a "fall zone" border and fall zone materials, as well as a new basketball backboard and goal.

Sjothun said the department is working with the Medford Rogue Club to see if club members could help install the equipment as they have done at numerous local schools. The new play structure, he said, will be geared toward younger kids, since a larger play structure is available down the street at Holmes Park.

The Ruhl Park project is expected to be completed by mid-June.