Town Center Park
|Town Center Park|
Covered picnic area at the park
|Area||5 acres (20,000 m2)|
|Operated by||Wilsonville Parks & Recreation|
Town Center Park is a small municipal park in Wilsonville, Oregon, United States. Located in the middle of Wilsonville’s town center, the 5-acre (2.0 ha) park cost $4.5 million to complete. The park includes the Oregon Korean War Memorial, a visitor’s center, paths, a play area, picnic tables, and an amphitheater among other features. Completed in 2005, Town Center Park is also home to Wilsonville’s first interactive water feature.
Capital Realty donated the land for a park in the center of the Wilsonville town center development in 1994 on condition that it be used as a park. In September 1996, the city started to get more input from city residents on the plans for what was then to be a $2 million park. Early plans for the park included a war memorial for the Korean War, a clock tower, a pond, a fountain, landscaping, picnic areas, a basketball court, a play area for children, gardens, paths, an amphitheater, lawns, and a pavilion area to be partially covered and used to host events such as street fairs. Parking was also to be built, which included spaces for recreational vehicles.
By October 1996, the estimated cost to build the park had increased to $3.3 million. All funding for the park had been secured at that time, and was to come from Wilsonville and the county’s lodging taxes and from a $1 million grant by the county’s tourism council to be used to build a visitor’s center. Wilsonville’s parks board approved of the plans that included the war memorial, the visitor’s center, gardens, paths, fountains, the amphitheater, and lawns at that time. The visitor’s center would also provide restrooms for the park, offer meeting space for the community, and be the home of the city’s chamber of commerce.
In November 1996, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 47, which lowered property tax rates and imposed restrictions on raising those rates. Due to the passage of the measure, the city delayed the project because of concerns about the impact of the measure on funding for building and maintaining the park. The estimated cost to build Town Center Park at that time was $3.3 million. Plans for building the park later moved forward, and construction of the regional visitor’s center began in June 1998. The building opened at Town Center Park in April 1999 at a cost of $1.5 million.
Construction on the war memorial started with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 4, 2000. In September 2000, the memorial was opened in the park to pay tribute to those soldiers from Oregon who died in the Korean War. During the summer months in 2000 and 2001 the park hosted a small farmer’s market run by the chamber of commerce. Also in 2000, the park began hosting the annual Wilsonville Celebration Days.
The park was completed in the Spring of 2005 when the final phase of construction finished after adding several features, including an interactive water play area, the first in the city. The water feature had been delayed due to a water shortage in the city before the completion of a new water treatment plant. This last phase cost around $1.2 million and was paid for through funds generated by an urban renewal district and built by Hoffman Construction. Total costs for building the park came to $4.5 million. The fountain had to be closed due to water quality issues in June 2007, but re-opened a few days later. In October 2008, free Wi-Fi service was added to the park by the chamber of commerce.
Located within the 5-acre (2.0 ha) park are several structures and a variety of features. These include the Korean War Memorial and a visitor information center. The 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) visitor’s center at the park was paid for by Clackamas County’s Tourism Development Council and is operated by the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce. A brick, wood, and glass structure, it is located at the southwest corner of the park and was constructed by First Cascade Corporation. The building also includes the park’s public restrooms.
The park was designed by Murase Associates, headed by landscape architect Robert Murase. Features at the park include a water feature for people to play in, an amphitheater with stage, a picnic shelter, picnic tables, children’s play equipment, paths, and a half-sized basketball court. The water feature is a zero-depth interactive element that has water cascade down a series of concrete channels to a small pond that contains bubblers. There is also the Rotary Rose Garden operated by the local Rotary Club and trees dedicated to the city’s sister city relationship.
Town Center Park is used to stage many community events in Wilsonville. In May or June, Town Center Park is the site of the Wilsonville Festival of the Arts featuring local and regional artists in a variety of disciplines from pottery to photography. The festival began in 2000. During parts of July and into August the park is host to the Wilsonville Rotary Summer Concerts on Thursday nights, a free concert series. In August, the park plays host to the annual Fun in the Park Festival that includes concerts, children’s exhibits, crafts, and food and wares vendors. The one-day event is part of Wilsonville Celebration Days and replaced Boone's Ferry Days in the year 2000, and draws in excess of 6,000 people to the park.
- Amick, Steven (September 27, 1996). "West Zoner: Wilsonville moves closer to getting a downtown park". The Oregonian. p. 11.
- Kipp, Curt (February 12, 2003). "Town Center Park a go; civic park a maybe". Wilsonville Spokesman.
- "Town Center Park focus of seminar in Wilsonville". The Oregonian. September 2, 1996. p. B2.
- Amick, Steven (December 12, 1996). "Measure 47 halts Town Center Park". The Oregonian. p. B4.
- "Cities & Suburbs; Recreation board backs Town Center Park plan". The Oregonian. October 1, 1996. p. B5.
- "Cities & Suburbs; Parks board recommends OK on Town Center Park plans". The Oregonian. September 27, 1996. p. D5.
- Tims, Dana (June 5, 1998). "Wilsonville's park in progress". The Oregonian. p. B2.
- Kadera, Jim (May 13, 1999). "South Zoner: Visitor centers sell tourists on staying close". The Oregonian. p. 5.
- "Work set to begin on Korean memorial". Register Guard. May 4, 2000. p. 6D.
- Leeson, Fred (October 1, 2000). "Forgotten no more hundreds turn out in Wilsonville to mark the opening of Oregon's Korean War Memorial, a tribute many say is long overdue". The Oregonian. p. B1.
- Green, Aimee (August 18, 2005). "South Zoner: Wilsonville gets farmers market, with plans to grow". The Oregonian. p. 1.
- "Editorial". Wilsonville Spokesman. August 1, 2001.
- "Town Center Park". Parks. City of Wilsonville. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- Frost, Danielle (July 13, 2005). "Making a big splash". Wilsonville Spokesman.
- "Completed Urban Renewal Projects". Urban Renewal. City of Wilsonville. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- Jagernauth, David (June 13, 2007). "Water's not fine at city fountains". Wilsonville Spokesman.
- "Metro South Neighbors: Wilsonville Surf the Web with free Wi-Fi service". The Oregonian. October 9, 2008. p. R17.
- Mortenson, Eric (July 13, 2006). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: Park plaza's new name a memorial to its creator". The Oregonian. p. 12.
- Dunlap, Sarah (July 24, 2008). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: Have a splash in the 'burbs". The Oregonian. p. 11.
- Haight, Abby (March 6, 2008). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: Wilsonville honors longtime arts advocate as First Citizen". The Oregonian. p. 6.
- Goetze, Janet (May 31, 2007). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: Arts festival adds exhibitors to event". The Oregonian. p. 21.
- Ma, Michelle (May 11, 2006). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: Arts council receives a record sum in grants". The Oregonian. p. 12.
- Kavanagh, Vickie (July 16, 2009). "Metro South Neighbors: Rock, jazz, blues and world in concert series". The Oregonian.
- Thomsen, Skipp (August 4, 2005). "Southwest Zoner: Grin 'n' have fun at Wilsonville festival". The Oregonian. p. 2.