Gangloff Park shade structure in the works

May 29, 2013 12:46 pm

Gangloff Park will have a shade structure come the end of June. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
Gangloff Park will have a shade structure come the end of June. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)

Two-year project finally being fulfilled 

A project more than two years in the making is coming to fruition this summer.

Gangloff Park will have a shade structure come the end of June.

In 2010, a group of about 25 community members was gathered to participate in the Ford Family Foundation’s leadership program, which is designed to help rural communities in Oregon and northern California.

“Part of what they do that makes them unique is that they give leadership training,” said group member Charlie Mitchell.

The goal is to provide training to build the leadership capacity in rural areas, Mitchell said. 

“The application is that you get to choose and work on a community project,” Mitchell said.

The Ford Family Foundation provides up to $5,000 in matching funds for the project.

Mitchell said a lot has changed in the two years the group has been working on this. The project was modified due to high costs, and over time, group participation from the volunteers decreased as the project was delayed.

But construction is under way at Gangloff Park for the $15,000 shade structure, which is fully funded by community cash and in-kind donations.

“It’s a really neat spot just because of its view,” Mitchell said. “It’s really meant to be this natural overlook.”

Tayde McAndie, a member of the original leadership cohort, is glad to see the group’s work finally paying off.

“I originally became part of the financial fundraising committee,” she said. At the start of the project, several committees were formed, but decreased participation somewhat dissolved that organizational setup.

Grants assist project

McAndie said she and a co-worker, who was also a member of the cohort, were able to work closely writing two grants for the project, though the entire group worked on ways to find funding.

“We all brainstormed and pounded the pavement for funding,” McAndie said.

Now that she can see progress, McAndie is pleased.

“It’s nice to see tangible results, even if it’s just small posts in the ground,” she said.

The spot at Gangloff Park overlooks Grande Ronde Valley and is one of the most accessible vistas in La Grande.

Parks and Recreation Director Mark Touhey said while he was not very involved in the process, he thinks the shade structure will draw residents and

Touhey said the cohort from the leadership program was the driving force behind the project, but he was involved to monitor the progress since it involves a city park.

“I wanted to make sure it was done properly,” he said. One of his concerns was to construct it in a way that would reduce the potential for vandalism.

“I think it’s a great portal into the city,” Touhey said. “I think it will pull people into town.”

The shade structure should be completed by the end of June.

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