Gangloff Park has curb appeal

By Observer editorial June 03, 2013 10:27 am
No, La Grande is not for sale.

But it is important that a town has “curb appeal.”  Real estate agents use the term with houses for sale. But it applies equally to towns and why they attract or fail to attract new businesses, students to the college, tourists and retirees.

Thanks to the Gangloff Park entry on the northwest corner of town, La Grande has wonderful curb appeal. A project now under way at the park overlooking town and the Grande Ronde Valley will increase the curb appeal for visitors and locals alike. A shade structure going in there should be completed by the end of June, just in time for the peak of summer vacation season.

The structure, fully funded by community cash and in-kind donations, is being built in such a way as to discourage vandalism. That’s today’s reality.

The 2.5-acre Gangloff Park is a great place to have a picnic or study plants native to the area when the pioneers made their trek on the Oregon Trail.

The park is designed to be educational and informational with its native plants. A paved walkway winds through the native plants and grasses. The historic log cabin, known as Clemens’ Cabin, was obtained by the Chamber of Commerce and moved to the park. For the past two decades, the William Cusick Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon has been responsible for the development and maintenance of the park.   

Not all towns are so lucky with curb appeal. Drivers enter many towns through a gauntlet of fast food joints, strip malls, traffic lights and power lines. Superior, Wis., for example, seems to exist for one purpose only: to make neighboring Duluth, Minn., look better. Other towns on the ugly list, as nominated by travelers across America, include Glendive, Mont.; Clifton, Ariz.; and Fresno, Calif.

Here’s hoping people who pull off Interstate 84 find the view from Gangloff Park appealing enough to put La Grande on their beauty list.