In the community

Big changes on the way for Nyssa’s Lions Park

NYSSA – Lions Park in Nyssa is in store for some big changes.
By next year, the city park will feature a splash pad, new playground equipment, new bathrooms and a gazebo along with a walking path thanks to an infusion of funds from the state and the city.
The park, at Park Avenue and North 8th Street, now features a basketball court, a covered pavilion and several picnic tables.
The city plans to use a $720,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department plus $180,000 from its own coffers for the park renovation.
“This is one of the biggest efforts by the community to get something nice for Nyssa. I am pretty proud of that,” said Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager.
Maret said the city hopes to break ground and complete the project in 2024.
He said the city applied for the state grant last spring but the application was rejected.
That surprised Maret.
“I couldn’t figure out why we didn’t get it. It didn’t make any sense to me,” said Maret.
Maret said he contacted the state Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale and state Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, who suggested the city seek money for the project from the Legislature. The city also received the application score sheet filled out by a panel of judges who oversee the distribution of grant monies.
HECO Engineers in Payette, the city’s engineering firm, reviewed the scores, said Maret.
“There was one score from one of the judges that looked weird. The judge scored us at a 2, when everyone else scored us at an 18 or 20,” said Maret.
Nyssa city engineer Jesse Christensen then contacted the state agency.
“The parks and rec folks admitted they made a mistake. The inputted it (the score) wrong. They couldn’t give us money for the round we applied for but told us we didn’t have to apply for the 2023-2024 grant cycle because we were automatically now No. 1. So, we are able to move forward on the project,” said Maret.
Maret said the park upgrade was possible through a united effort.
“It wasn’t just me or the engineers. The city council, the parks committee, community members all were involved and put a lot of hours into it,” said Maret.
The walking path, said Maret, will be lighted. The city also plans to install two new soccer fields.
“When I kicked this off it was to give something back to the community. I want us to give back more than we do. So, this helps us,” said Maret.
Nyssa Mayor Betty Holcomb said the park project is “a really good deal.”
“I am really excited everything we’ve done is coming together,” said Halcomb.

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

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