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  • Jordan D. Smith

Toan Park Splash Pad Project Breaks Ground

With the sound morning traffic and construction equipment, the community of Portland gathered to officially kicked off the construction of the long awaited Toan Park revitalization project last Thursday the 22nd. While the project has been in the works since at least 2014, it really got underway in the past year with a community fundraising effort. That campaign wrapped up earlier this spring with about $145,000 in community contributions that unlocked matching funds, which when combined with budget money from the Portland Downtown Development Authority (DDA) totaled $650,000 being put into overhauling the much loved downtown riverside park.

The groundbreaking was attended by city officials, business leaders, donors both large and small, and representatives of the engineering and construction companies in charge of the project. The highlight for all involved was seeing the children in attendance get to scoop the first shovelfuls of earth on behalf of all of the children of the community. According to DDA Director Tina Conner Wellman, “The entire community is beyond excited to see this project get started. We’ve put in some great features the will attract people of all ages.”

The revitalized park includes relocation of the current more modern play equipment, the installation of new swings and a rubberized play surface as well as a splash pad, shaded seating, river overlook, outdoor fireplace, sidewalk connections and upgraded landscaping. “We are thankful for all the incredibly generous donations form individuals and businesses, both in and outside our community. The support has been overwhelming,” Conner Wellman says.

Jon Moxey, engineer and project manager for the city’s engineering firm, Fleis & VandenBrink said, “After years of planning and ensign work, it is very exciting to see constructing starting. Much of the work we do as engineers is underground or happens behind a sea of cones and barrels. A project like this that is so visible and such a community effort has been great to be a part of.” The work is being undertaken by a Grand Rapids Contractor, Katerberg VerHage Inc. which specializes in park and recreation projects. Construction began earlier the week of July 19th and is expected to be complete by mid-September.


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