Friendly Park

Click here to download and view the Pesticide-Free Friendly Park Adoption Agreement (September 2013)

Background:

Friendly Park is a small 1.2 acre park established in 1953. It is located in the Friendly Neighborhood at the intersection of Monroe Street and West 27th Avenue. In 2007 the Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Executive Board received a Neighborhood Matching Grant from the City of Eugene. The grant improvements included a new slide and swing set, a new hard-service loop path, a sand play area with water, a play table and an ADA accessible picnic table and benches.  The much-loved vintage merry-go-round remained. The grant also provided parallel bars and chin-up bars to encourage adult workouts and usage of the park, and two native Dogwood trees (planted near the adult exercise equipment). The textured red paved path leading up to the information kiosk and the information kiosk itself were also part of the FAN Grant.  A native plant garden was installed at the entrance to Friendly Park and money for the park's sign (just recently installed) were also part of the grant.  Improvements were based on input from several neighborhood workshops as well as current safety and accessibility requirements.

Pesticide-Free Friendly Park effort

At the May 13th, 2013 monthly meeting of the Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Executive Board, a neighborhood discussion was engaged regarding the potential adoption of Friendly Park as a pesticide-free space. Recent spaying of pesticides and related notices in the park prompted the conversation amongst nearby residents. To help facilitate an understanding of a pesticide-free designation, Chris Girard, the South Region Operations Supervisor for the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space was in attendance.

Approximately 12 to 14 neighborhood residents were in attendance. About a half dozen neighbors, including children, spoke during the public comment section of the meeting to express concern about the use of pesticides in Friendly Park and to share support for a pesticide-free initiative.

Following public comment, Chris Girard explained the basic process for adopting a park as a pesticide-free space. It was acknowledged that the neighborhood association might indicate their support for such an effort and that residents and neighbors could work with Chris until a more formal process was identified. This formal process would likely include specific guidelines and expectations for the maintenance of Friendly Park as a pesticide-free space and would include the participation of Eugene Park Stewards.

A related decision to adopt Washington Park as a pesticide-free space was the result of a vote at the Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Winter General Meeting on January 21st, 2010. The next regular, general meeting for the neighborhood association will not take place until Thursday, October 17th. Between now and then, effort would be made to explain the pesticide-free initiative to Friendly residents, seek additional volunteers, and provide opportunity for feedback and/or alternate viewpoints from residents.

It was moved that "the FAN Board support the interim pesticide-free initiative for Friendly Park". All present members of the FAN Board voted to support the effort. The official minutes from this meeting are available on the FAN website (http://www.FriendlyAreaNeighbors.org).

A meeting was held from 4:15 PM to 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 6th at Friendly Park to discuss how to implement a pesticide-free initiative for Friendly Park. The meeting was lead by Chris Girard, South Region Director for the City of Eugene Parks and Open Space. The meeting was attended by five nearby neighbors/regular park users as well as Andrew Fisher of the Friendly Area Neighbors (FAN) Board.

Considering the relatively small size of Friendly Park, it was suggested that it is an ideal candidate for a pesticide-free status.

A primary task would be to maintain a weed-free "ring" around the tree bases. Grass growth around tree bases results in competition for nitrogen. These rings could perhaps have bark mulch around the base too. Keeping the base free of grass means a mower or line trimmer isn't required (which can result in damage to tree base and/or roots). Additionally, some of the trees along the western edge of the park already have wood dividers that delineate where grass should and should not grow. Some of these "beds" require a bit of excavation as they have become overgrown over time.

Another task would be to maintain the native planting bed that is installed at the front of the park.

A third task would be too maintain the fence line along the eastern edge of the park. As we toured the park it was apparent that some nearby neighbors had already taken steps to remove weeds from the fence line. This effort might be continued along the entire eastern edge. Mulched leaves might be applied in the fall to this eastern edge to further discourage weed and undesirable plant growth.

Additional tasks that were identified relate to the removal of dead limbs that hang over the park. Only a certified arborist may undertake this work and they must sign a volunteer work release.

It was acknowledged that some nearby neighbors might express concern over changes being made to the park. As such, an effort would be made to invite neighbors to participate and inform them of the reasoning behind this effort. Although all of the tasks required to maintain Friendly Park in a pesticide-free manner are not known right now, it was suggested that the process will likely evolve over time and hopefully gain additional support.

A final concept shared was that Friendly Park might be a good candidate for the Eugene Parks Stewards program.

An inaugural work party was held at Friendly Park on Sunday, June 23rd 2013 from 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon. Approximately 30 nearby neighbors, park users, and motivated volunteers participated.

2017 volunteer days at Friendly Park are scheduled for:

Sunday May 7th, 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday Aug 6th, 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday Oct 29th, 9:00 AM until Noon

2016 Friendly Park Care Days were held:

Sunday, January 21st - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, May 8th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, Aug 7th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, Oct 23rd - 9:00 AM until Noon

2015 Friendly Park Care Days were held:

Sunday, January 18th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, April 19th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Saturday, July 25th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, October 18th - 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon.

2014 Friendly Park Care Days were held:

Sunday, January 19th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, April 20th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Saturday, July 26th - 9:00 AM until Noon
Sunday, October 19th - 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon.

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