City begins renovation work at Legion Park
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:13 PM
ARLINGTON The first signs of progress in the downtown Arlington renovation project occurred in Legion Park recently, when city parks staff removed two diseased pine trees and a bulldozer rolled in to start leveling out the playing field, so to speak.
The citys capital projects manager Paul Ellis and his assistant Terry Marsh took advantage of the street project delay and spent the past year seeking donations to help in the community effort to build a gazebo in Legion Park.
Now they have commitments for all the major elements including site work by the city of Arlington, structural fill, concrete and drainrock from Smokey Point Concrete, drain pipe, fittings and filter fabric from Cuz Concrete, log poles from Baxter Poles, framing lumber and plywood from Oso Lumber, roof trusses from Evergreen Truss Company, roofing material from Arlington Hardware, labor for electrical installation from Donnelsons Electric, granite for recognition plaques from Unique Interiors, 25 lunches for workers from Broosters and an eagle weathervane to top it off from Little Italy Delicatessen.
The gazebo project has been driven by the downtown Arlington merchants group since the late 1990s, when Shirley Countryman of Countryman Collectibles revived an idea first presented by then-editor of The Arlington Times Rena Jemeyson back in the 1970s.
The merchants were holding events in Legion Park and recognized the need for a gazebo.
Since then the merchants, with help from other community groups like the Old Bags of Arlington, Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce and the Arlington Arts Council, have raised $17,000.
The balance of needs after all the committed donations is $18,300, Marsh said.
The design of the gazebo has evolved since the merchants proposed a 40-foot structure to accommodate the entire high school band. The new design features a pole structure with unfinished wood posts on river-rock pedestals and a shake-like roof in a smaller, 28-foot diameter gazebo raised on a mound of dirt instead of concrete to make it more affordable.
Its that mound that can now be seen in the center of Legion Park.
After removing the trees and the landscaping, city crews installed lifts for the gazebo 10 inches lower than grade.
The next step is for Pacific Road and Bridges to bring in its compacter to compact the soil, one of the many donated services that will complete the gazebo this year.
Then the soil will have to be tested for compaction, Ellis said.
We hope the contractors for the street project will do the tests for us, gratis.
The design for the gazebo is style of architecture appropriate for Arlington, according to gazebo advocate City Councilwoman Marilyn Oertle.
We wanted something to reflect our unique identity, Oertle said. The log poles and the shake-like roof reflect Arlingtons logging history and the rockwork suggests the nearby river.
Now Oertle is glad that a lot of the construction will be done by local hands.
We are thrilled to get all these contributions from the community. Since its a community driven project from the start, gazebo has been designed to reflect Arlington, and it seems appropriate to have so much community input for this community facility.
Street project update
The bids for the Olympic Avenue street project were opened Thursday, Feb. 22 and city officials were happy to see numbers about a million dollars less that expected, Oertle said. Bids ranged from $4.2 million to $5.3 million. The decision was made Monday night after press time which bidder to hire. A ground-breaking ceremony is set for Thursday, March 22. For information attend the downtown merchants evening meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 7 at Little Italy Delicatessen, 318 N. Olympic Ave., or call City Hall at 360-403-3441.