Border board grant lays groundwork for future Vale parks blueprint

Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando talks about a recent grant delivered to the city that will help officials draft a parks master plan. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)

VALE – The city of Vale got a big boost recently to refurbish city parks.

The Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Board awarded a $61,000 grant to the city to fund a new parks master plan.

Updating the parks master plan is needed to pursue funding for actual parks work, said Tom Vialpando, Vale mayor.

“It really gives you leverage when it comes to writing for future grants,” said Vialpando.

The grant from the border board is a “huge deal,” said Vialpando.

“Because we’ve been turned down on a couple of grants already because they wanted to see the parks master plan and when we did find one it was from 2004 and too old,” said Vialpando.

Vialpando said organizations that offer grants usually want to see a parks master plan crafted within the last 10 years.

“It is understandable. If you are going to ask for $100,000 or whatever, they want to see something recent. They don’t want to see a sketch. They want something professional and well thought out,” said Vialpando.

A parks master plan is also important, said Vialpando, as a vehicle to produce ideas.

“It will be good for us to just know we have things lined out for the future,” said Vialpando.

Vialpando said the city not only needs to renovate its existing parks but should look to creating more space dedicated to activities for youth.

“We need stuff for our kids,” said Vialpando.

Vialpando one idea is to utilize property near the city treatment lagoon for parks or playing fields.

“It is just an idea. But it could work,” he said.

The city parks are the 14-acre Wadleigh Park at 300 Main St. S.; Cottonwood Park in the north part of town off of Ellsworth Street and Lewin City Park just across from the Starlite Café on West Washington Street.

A series of baseball or other fields could be an economic booster for the town, said Vialpando.

“Our kids go over to Idaho for sports a lot of times. You get a tournament over here and get 150 in town for it that’s big for our stores and restaurants,” said Vialpando.

The city applied for the border board grant in August, said Vale City Manager Todd Fuller.

Fuller said he is not certain when the city will get the money.

Fuller said after the city receives the funds it will then coordinate with city’s engineering firm, Anderson Perry & Associates, on the master plan.

“We’ve got a little more matching money to go with that and are right about $75,000 total. The plan is to get with Anderson and Perry who will use a consultant to help us prepare the master plan,” said Fuller.

Fuller said the development of the master plan could take up to a year and will include public meetings.

Shawna Peterson, the executive director of the border board, said Vale’s application was a “good one with tons of letters of community support which the board really likes to see.”

“The board likes some of our programs because they are innovative but the board also likes the idea of leveraging money and there are certain things you have to have in place to go out for grants. These master plans are kind of a prerequisite but they are very expensive,” said Peterson.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] .

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