(KTUU) By Kirsten Durand – “Several parks and trails will be getting much needed face lifts now after prop 5, the park bond, was passed by Anchorage voters in the April election.
The parks bond totals nearly $4 million for 13 projects planned in several areas across the city. Park officials say these communities really rallied together to voice their visions for their neighborhood parks.
Beverly Sullivan has lived in the Airport Heights area for nearly 41 years now. She brought her kids to Tikishla Park when they were little, and now she brings her grand kids. Word that the park bond that she voted in favor of passed, was welcome news to Sullivan.
“I’d like to see it as a gathering for kids to get together and play good clean fun, and get them away from all the computer games and video games,” said Sullivan. “You don’t see the kids out in the summer like you used to years ago.”
Tikishla Park is set to see $400,000 in improvements as part of that bond. Those renovations include an inclusive playground, a new covered picnic area, and updated safety features. It’s also welcome news to new mom, Katie Reilly, who’s lived in the Airport Heights area for three years, and also voted ‘yes’ for the park bond.
“We’re a new family, and so we’ll be using that part of the park more often than we have up to this point,” said Reilly. “I definitely see families come down and have parties, and so having some sort of a shelter sounds like a great idea. Any sort of improvements that they have to the playground equipment and the lighting, and the safety would be fantastic.”
Elderberry Park downtown is another one on the list with $500,000 going towards a master plan for improvements there, including new and improved access to the coastal trail and an updated, inclusive playground.
“It’s not very safe right now with bikes coming down the hill next to the playground, and so before we put in a beautiful new playground asset, we want to make sure that access to the coastal trail is taken care of in a safe and inviting way, and in a way where visitors to Anchorage can navigate the trail system easily,” said Executive Director of the Anchorage Park Foundation, Beth Nordlund.
The Campbell Creek trail, which hasn’t seen a face lift in nearly 30 years has $750,000 going to improvements there. “We have bridges to take care of in that area, and in this approach too, with having those soft surface trails, it widens the trail a little bit. Which allows us from a winter maintenance perspective, when we groom the trail and set track for classic skiing, we have a wider trail corridor to work with.”
For Beverly Sullivan and her family, these are all improvements that are well worth the cost.
“It’s something anyone can afford,” said Sullivan. “You don’t have to pay — well our taxes of course, but it’s well worth it. You’re not charged a fee, anyone can do it, and go to it and afford it, and it’s nice.”
Also, check out Kirsten Durand’s coverage of the ongoing efforts to renovate the Taku Lake Skate Park