Last week marked the groundbreaking ceremony for Sunset Meadows Park, with over 60 people in attendance. The ceremony brought together a coalition of partners who helped contribute to the park’s realization, including Representative Paul Evans, officials from the office of Congresswoman Andrea Salinas, Oregon Parks and Recreation, T-Mobile, Pacific Power, and most importantly, members of the community who shaped the 2015 Parks Master Plan. Attendees received complimentary snacks and bubbles under the banner of a warm spring sun.

“Today is the result of people coming together for the betterment of the whole community,” stated Independence Mayor John McArdle. “It will be exciting for all of us to watch the construction unfold.”

The park project will include installing Nature Play Equipment and seating suitable for picnicking by small groups, such as picnic tables. A safety surface (engineered wood fiber or similar) will also be installed. The installation will include concrete work to tie the project location into the existing trail infrastructure and connect individual site elements. The park is located at 889 Maple Street in Independence.

Funding for the park came from system development charges, a fee that ensures city growth pays its fair share of impact on infrastructure, as well as grants from Oregon Parks and Recreation (OPRD) and T-Mobile. OPRD supplied $75,000 for a nature play area, and T-Mobile recently awarded the city $50,000 from its Hometown Grant program. Independence joins 275 communities across the country that are part of the coveted $25 million investment T-Mobile is making in small towns for community development projects. Utility provider Pacific Power granted the city $2,000 for the plantation of trees throughout the park.

After remarks from each of the respective officials, the event culminated in ceremonial dirt shoveling, with the youth in attendance also getting a chance to participate.

Although Sunset Meadows Park is closed for construction this summer, the new space will be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities for years to come. The park is scheduled to complete construction by October 2024.