Northside courts get makeover during summer parks fixes

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The tennis court, along with the basketball court, at Northside should be in good shape this week after being resurfaced as part the city of Sweet Home’s annual parks upkeep and maintenance program.

The tennis court and basketball courts were getting rough, with asphalt showing through the surface material on the basketball court, Community Development Director Carol Lewis said. The tennis court had 257 feet of cracks that needed to be patched.

The tennis court was last patched seven or eight years ago, she said. This time around, they’re being patched with an “armor system,” which will preserve the courts even longer.

Lewis said she received complaints about the cracks, which had a half-inch lip at some points, she said. Workers who cleaned dirt out of the cracks discovered that they were 2 to 3 inches wide.

Links in the net were broken, mostly from youths tearing it up, she said.

Gary Fischer, Skyler Fischer and Miles Damitz of Molalla spent last week fixing all of these problems.

Among their first tasks was flooding the court to find low spots and then leveling those spots followed by sealing cracks, resurfacing and painting. Total cost of the project was approximately $12,000.

“It should be in good shape for anyone that wants to play tennis,” Lewis said.

Around the city’s parks system, work continues on the old Girl Scout hut at Sankey Park. The building originally was used by the park caretaker, and then by local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Following that, it was used by Narcotics Anonymous for roughly 12 years.

The interior is finished, Lewis said. The log siding has been removed and is being restored to its original style.

The city began refurbishing the structure, located just to the west of the bandstand, about two years ago.

The roof leaked, and water had gotten all over everything inside, Lewis said. The floor had collapsed into the center of the main room, about a foot and a half to the ground in the middle.

Narcotics Anonymous put a table over the damage and continued to use the deteriorating building before the city stepped in and stated repairing it.

Sankey Park also will get a repaved parking lot, with new spaces painted, this year, Lewis said. It will be set up as a one-way loop with a drainage swale in the center of the lot, keeping runoff from the parking lot away from Ames Creek. City officials hope to finish with the project by November.

Weddle Bridge still has one lower beam to be replaced, Lewis said. The bridge remains on extra supports until the beam can be replaced, and Mike Melcher continues to store the timber that will be used.

The project must be completed during low water, either before or after the rainy season, Lewis said. It should be finished this fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

Besides those primary construc- tion projects this year, other work includes cleaning up Ashbrook Park, which has suffered from vandalism and graffiti this year, Lewis said. Graffiti and vandalism, including people attempting to pull apart the gates on the bridge, also remain a problem at Sankey Park.

The number of vandalism problems at Northside, more typically the target of such activity, has decreased since the removal of privacy screens around the bathroom entrances, Lewis said.

Habitat restoration at the Hobart Nature Preserve, located at the south end of 35th Avenue, continues with a new trail up the south ridge.

Two new rare species were recently discovered there too, including Methuselah’s Beard lichen, or white lichen, which is the world’s longest lichen. The lichen is fairly common to the area but rare outside of the Northwest.

A plant called bugbane also was discovered in the park, Lewis said. It is listed as a threatened species.

While work continues in all of these parks, the Parks Division still has three sessions of its summer recreation program left to go, Lewis said, and her department’s personnel are busy getting ready to put on the Second Annual Harvest Festival at Sankey Park on Oct. 4.

For more information about the summer recreation program or the Harvest Festival, call 367-8113.