FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
City of Ridgefield Receives $783,000 Grant for Overlook Park
Press Contact Information:
Justin Clary, City Manager
Ridgefield, WA, July 12, 2010 – The City of Ridgefield has been awarded a $783,000 grant supporting the Overlook Park/Ridgefield Welcome Center Project in Ridgefield's historic downtown. The grant, which was among a list of five Clark County projects totaling $2,327,000 that were approved by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC) during its July 6th meeting, will provide the necessary funds to complete project design and construct the park.
The grant is part of a federal Transportation Enhancement Program, whose objective is to create or improve facilities along primary road corridors. Among the qualifying criteria for the Transportation Enhancement Program is construction of welcome center facilities.
"Overlook Park will preserve a public view corridor of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge from Ridgefield's historic downtown and provide facilities for visitors to orient themselves within the downtown and refuge" said Mayor Ron Onslow. "With the community's ongoing efforts for revitalization of our downtown, this project will be the catalyst for future public and private projects."
About Overlook Park
The Overlook Park/Welcome Center site, located at the corner of State Route 501(Pioneer Street) and Main Avenue, is envisioned as a public square in the center of Ridgefield's downtown commercial district, offering spectacular views of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The plaza will be designed to complement the small town charm of Ridgefield's historic downtown, providing facilities for visitor orientation to the City and the Refuge with brochures and guidebooks, and serving as a community focal point and gathering place. The park is also envisioned as an anchor for the Refuge in Ridgefield's Old Town, enhancing the community's connection with the Refuge.
The project is an outcome of a 2000 Summer Student Program conducted by EDAW at the Refuge. EDAW is a world-renowned landscape architecture firm that annually assembles a team of college students to work on a project of special significance. Because the City is a portal community through which nearly every visitor to the Refuge enters (estimated at over 150,000 per year) the welcome center concept was developed by the students as a means to help the community better connect with the Refuge, help orient visitors to the Refuge, and stimulate revitalization of the historic downtown. In 2002, the Friends of the Ridgefield Refuge obtained an option to purchase the property from the property owner and made monthly payments of $500 per month with money raised in the community to maintain the option until 2005, when the City purchased the property for $210,000. The property is the last piece of undeveloped downtown property directly overlooking the Ridgefield Refuge.
Since purchase of the property, the City has worked with the Overlook Park Committee in a grassroots effort to raise money for completion of design and construction of the park.
Overlook Park/Ridgefield Welcome Center Location
Overlook Park/Ridgefield Welcome Center Conceptual View
The City of Ridgefield, incorporated in 1909, is a rapidly growing community located in northern Clark County, Washington approximately 10 miles north of Vancouver, Washington. Over the next 20 years, the City of Ridgefield expects to grow to a population of over 20,000 persons with an employment base of over 13,000 jobs. The City has adopted a Council-City Manager form of government. The City Manager acts as the chief executive officer of the City overseeing daily operations, annual budget development and implementation, and personnel. The City Manager works with a management team composed of the Director of Finance & Administration/City Clerk, the Community Development Director, the Public Works Director and the Police Chief to insure that community services are provided and that the policy directives of the City Council are carried out in the most efficient manner possible.