Library cardholders will one day be able to check out their very own park for the day.
In an effort to create a park built by the people of Tillamook County for the people of Tillamook County, fundraising is already underway to transform the lot adjacent to the west side of the Main Library branch – purchased by the Tillamook County Library Foundation (TCLF) in September 2014 – into a full-fledged downtown park, complete with an outdoor stage large enough for an entire band (or perhaps Shakespeare in the Park), a water feature and outdoor seating.
“It will be the only park in Downtown,” TCLF President Ruth LaFrance said. “It will be a benefit to the City of Tillamook and an ideally placed place near the new Hoquarton area, the food court and Safeway.”
To create the park, the Library and TCLF are relying on the support of the community to complete funding for the $75,000 project.
“There were concerns about the [library] budget. Now the Foundation is doing all the fundraising,” LaFrance said. “Funds going into the park are not coming out of the library budget and will totally be produced by the foundation.”
What boosted TCLF’s confidence that this community funded park could be a reality was the result of a donation of 45 quilted items – including 13 large quilted blankets – by Tillamook resident Cathie Favret.
“It was an incredible donation,” Tillamook County Library Director Sara Charlton said.
Favret sent a letter to the library offering the quilted pieces to sell as a fundraiser and April 26-28, the items sold generated $4,502 to go toward the new park.
According to LaFrance, TCLF currently has around $30,000 for the park, but there is currently one active fundraiser that will more than double that amount when it is finished.
More than 7,000 one-foot-by-one-foot plots are “for sale” by TCLF. At $5 a plot, anyone may visit the Main Library branch (the only location the plots will be sold) during regular hours to purchase as many of the 7,150-square-foot park’s plots as they wish and walk away with a printed deed (unfortunately for potential developers, deed holders have no actual legal ownership over the plot, but may find the plot of land and stand on it – or brag to their friends and family). Ultimately, the fundraiser should generate more than $35,000 if every plot is sold. The fundraiser has currently sold $2,000 worth of plots.
Once the park is complete, it will be available for checkout – for free – by cardholders of Tillamook County Library for events such as weddings.
“It will be the library’s third community room,” LaFrance said, “It just doesn’t have a roof.”
To build a park
Development of the park will be done in stages, according to LaFrance.
“We’re concentrating on the lower part, at first,” she said, “It’s smaller and the landscaping is less expensive.”
The lower half of the park will be composed mostly of pavers for ease of upkeep – eliminating the need for high maintenance. It will also feature the large tree on the southwest corner of the property as well as the water feature.
“It looks like a pond,” LaFrance said of the plans, “But it’s going to be more of a bubbler type.”
The upper half of the park will contain tables as well as the 20-foot-by-20-foot raised stage in the northwest corner, which is expected to be about $50,000.
“I think the stage is going to be a great addition,” Charlton said.
To build the park, TCLF will be relying on the expertise of locals.
“There are enough local contractors and artisans that are really good at what they do,” LaFrance said, “This can be built by the people of Tillamook County.”
But none of this would be possible if not for a donation by Clarice Maxwell, a board member of the library, TCLF and the South County Library. After her death April 21, 2014, Maxwell left money to TCLF, which contributed to its endowment fund.
“She left a huge gift, she planted a seed,” Charlton said, “Clarice kept talking about a park and kept talking about a park and kept talking about a park.”
LaFrance added it was Maxwell’s dream for a park to go on that piece of property and without her gift, LaFrance said TCLF would never have considered purchasing the lot that will one day be the library park.
“It was the impetus,” LaFrance said, “She really wanted a park, so we said, ‘Let’s see if we can find the money.’”
Tillamook County Library Foundation is accepting donations as well as selling plots. For more information, visit www.tillamookcountylibraryfoundation.org or call the Main Library at 503-842-4792. A park party and ground breaking celebration is set for 11 a.m. Aug. 25.