A new scoreboard was recently installed at Melvin Park. The installation is one of a number of park projects are on tap for this summer. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)

Summer means park improvements

Planning and construction on tap for summer

The sun is shining, the days are growing longer and many of Juneau’s parks and trails will get a facelift in the coming weeks, thanks to bond projects and partnerships with other local groups.

“There are a lot of projects out there,” said Michele Elfers, deputy director of CBJ’s Parks and Recreation Department. She said the summer’s projects fall into two categories: planning and construction.

In the planning category, improvements to the Fish Creek Park area are being discussed as part of a master planning process. Elfers said that the city is working with Southeast Alaska Watershed Collision and Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game to discuss ecological restoration work and increased recreation opportunities.

Work on a master plan for the Montana Creek Recreation Area will also kick off this summer, she said. The Montana Creek planning includes various stakeholders, including representatives from the Department of Natural Resources, Trail Mix Inc. and the USDA Forest Service, because of the spot’s proximity to federal land.

A separate public comment period is currently underway for a request submitted by the Juneau Off-Road Association to build a hardened trail at the perennially popular spot. The comment deadline was extended to May 21.

A new road ahead? There’s a proposal for an access road at Montana Creek

Design work is moving forward for a park at Eagles Edge Playground in Lemon Creek. This park will be a new one for the department, as the spot was previously owned by the local Homeowners Association but has been transferred to the city, Elfers said.

Construction projects

Park-goers will see construction work at the popular Chicken Yard Park, where the city will install new play features and basketball hoops. A driveway for a home adjacent to the park will be removed from the park property and replaced with parking spaces and a walkway.

Later this summer, construction will begin at Capital School Park. A community planning process earlier this year helped to guide the plans.

A new life in store for Capital School Park

Waterline improvements at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park will result in new water fountains and better plumbing when the work is complete. In addition, deferred maintenance will take place, and an old climbing wall will be removed.

Out near Auke Lake, a paved path will be added to connect to a multi-use trail along with a picnic table and new signage.

A new scoreboard has been installed at Melvin Park. According to Elfers, private donations covered the cost, and five additional scoreboards will be installed soon.

Trail improvements

Elfers said that a partnership with Trail Mix would lead to trail improvements this summer, including a trailhead rebuild at Blackerby Ridge Trail after a mudslide damaged it in the fall.

Notably, the Christopher Trail, which connects Cope Park to the Gold Creek Flume Trail, will reopen by the end of the summer. The trail, which runs along a steep hillside by Gold Creek, has been closed for several years.

“People will be excited about this,” Elfers said.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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