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Rotary club to keep Battle Ground park blooming

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:
5 Photos
Battle Ground's Central Park, pictured Friday, includes a variety of plants and trees. The Lewis River Rotary Club, which adopted the park in November, is planning several projects to upgrade the green space.
Battle Ground's Central Park, pictured Friday, includes a variety of plants and trees. The Lewis River Rotary Club, which adopted the park in November, is planning several projects to upgrade the green space. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A local rotary club plans to spruce up Battle Ground’s Central Park over the next few years.

The Lewis River Rotary Club, after officially adopting the park in November, recently presented its five-year vision to the Battle Ground City Council. The council offered unanimous support during a meeting April 5.

The vision includes several maintenance items and a few larger projects, including building a pavilion and moving rose bushes — intended to honor annual Citizen of the Year recipients — into a formal garden. It also mentions potential programs such as a children’s summer camp, an annual nonprofit fair, movie nights, holiday celebrations and other live events.

The park is tucked between Northeast First and East Main streets, and its eastern border is Woodin Creek, part of the Salmon Creek watershed. It also has various species of plants and trees, a metal sculpture of a fish swimming beneath ducks and geese, plaques purchased by donors, a concrete walkway weaving through the grassy area and three benches.

The city bought the land in 1995 before volunteers began shaping it into a park. It came as Battle Ground’s population continued to soar, creating a need for neighborhood parks.

“A lot of people have walked by and haven’t understood that it’s a nice park,” said Mike Robinson, a member of the club who has been part of the vision discussions. “We thought that having a place where people could gather and hold events would be a cool thing to do.”

A couple of years ago, the club decided to search for parks in the county to adopt. Most parks had been adopted in the southern part of the county, so the club looked north, Robinson said.

They received three options from the city and two from the county. Robinson said that Central Park’s small size — about a half-acre — downtown location and current features made it the optimum choice.

“It was just an aesthetic place,” Robinson said.

Robinson said that he hopes most of the funding for projects will come from donations and grants. The club plans to gradually build a cadre of volunteers.

The city council will still need to individually approve several aspects of the plan as the club implements them. But it allows the club to apply for grant funding.

“The approval of the city was a really significant green light,” Robinson said. “We have to make sure we jump through the engineering and the codes and all that stuff.”

Overall, the council expressed enthusiasm for the vision.

“We just want to let you know that you really help contribute to making our community a better place,” Mayor Adrian Cortes told Robinson at the meeting.

The club hopes the plan will help restore some parts of the park and improve others, Robinson said. “Hopefully we can do as much as possible to help the city and Central Park be proud of that particular location.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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