• Robert Lathers

Splash Pad Project Ready for Final Vote Following Compromise on Donated Playground Equipment


The Portland City Council will vote tomorrow on a recommendation from the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to re-build Toan Park at a total cost of $546,000.  The project will be funded mostly by the DDA. If approved, Toan Park will become a significant and highly visible attraction to downtown Portland.


The final design plan (Concept #2) was recommended by the DDA to be forwarded to City Council for final approval, following comments last Monday night from Alyssa Nichols.  Nichols’ family donated playground equipment for the park in 2012 as a memorial to her young son, Abel Seth, who died from Zellweger Syndrome in 2011.


The DDA’s original redesign proposal (Concept #1) had the equipment, currently located in the park, moved out of the park to another location.  Nichols told the DDA Board that she and her family donated the play structure in memory of the loss of their son. The play structure is very dear to their hearts and Nichols stated that she was in favor of keeping the play structure in Toan Park. She further stated that she did not expect the City to move it and was disappointed in plans to move it.   She asked that it be incorporated into the new plans for updating the park rather than moving it to a new location. Ms. Nichols told the Beacon that the family did not want the equipment moved but that they are, “Okay with moving it within the park.  We’ve formed family memories around it since it’s been there.  We just want to protect the integrity of our donation.” 


The final design plan (Concept #2) accommodates the donated playground equipment to be relocated within Toan Park and was unanimously approved by the DDA Board on Monday night.  Nichols told the Beacon, “We’re fine with their decision as long as they stay with the plan they voted on.”


If approved by City Council, the DDA’s Splash Pad and William Toan Park Improvement Project will tentatively be constructed in 2021.  The major parts of the project will include a splash pad ($125,000); riverbank stabilization, earthwork and grading ($45,000); a play area rubber surface ($38,000); observation deck ($40,000); sidewalk construction and river trail resurfacing ($ 26,000);Outdoor fireplace ($20,000); sidesails ($20,000), seatwalls($20,000); and relocating the existing playground equipment ($10,000).  There are numerous smaller projects and tasks that will also be completed including storm sewer improvements, play area curbing, bike station, and landscaping.


The development and construction engineering will be provided by Fleis & Vandenbrink of Grand Rapids at a cost of approximately $55,000.


Photos include (left) Toan Park donated playground equipment and (right) proposed concept 2 Toan Park Improvement Project.

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