More than 30 park district residents recently participated in three “community conversations,” aiding the park district in the first step of an outreach process designed to give neighbors and park advocates an active voice in the planning for a new neighborhood park in Aloha. This 2.5-acre park will be constructed in 2020 at the intersection of SW Bonnie Meadow Rd. and SW 187th Ave.
Conversations were hosted at Beaver Acres Elementary School on the evenings of October 24 and 26 and on the morning of November 4. Structured like focus groups, these events allowed THPRD to listen as neighbors and community members shared what they need and desire in a new neighborhood park.
“These conversations really lay the foundation by helping us understand what kind of park the neighbors want,” said park planner Rene Brucker. “We’re providing a forum for those who know the area best to tell us how they imagine this park fitting within the existing neighborhood. This has been a very useful planning exercise for us.”
Participants were asked to visualize what their ideal neighborhood would look like, and how people would interact with the setting and with one another.
Afterward, each participant chose their top three or four most important elements. Those were posted on the wall, grouped by topic, and became the basis for conversation about how a park design contributes to an improved quality of life.
The most prominent topic that emerged was a concern about pedestrian safety, as many streets near the site lack sidewalks and lighting. Drainage problems on the site were also discussed at each meeting. Participants expressed desire for park amenities that attract visitors of all ages: playground facilities for young children, sport courts for teenagers, walking paths for seniors, and gathering spaces for families.
Many participants were interested in preserving trees on the site and including natural elements in the playground area. Some sought destination amenities – a dog park, an exceptionally high-quality playground – that would attract users from outside the neighborhood, but recognized that may impact traffic to the site and create parking issues.
What would YOU like to see? THPRD is continuing its outreach by providing an opportunity for park neighbors and others to take a short survey before Dec. 5. Your input will help us work toward our project goal – a safe place for people of all ages to gather, play and enjoy nature.