Efforts to spruce up Chief Alex Park continue
Gardeners are having a blooming good time in Chief Alex Park, where ongoing renovations aimed at sprucing up the downtown Eagle River landmark are in full swing.
“All the flowers are in,” said Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce executive director Debbie Rinckey last week.
A planting party was held June 6, with chamber members joining with the Eagle River Gardening Club and volunteers from the UAA Chugiak-Eagle River campus, Cub Scout Pack 293, the Alaska Military Youth Academy, Eklutna Inc., Eagle River Area Rotary, the Chugiak-Eagle River Foundation, and Northern Electric to plant flowers at the park alongside the Old Glenn Highway.
“It looks great, the park is shaping up awesome,” Rinckey said.
The efforts come on the heels of the removal of several bushes in the park that were cluttering the area. The work is being done in advance of a larger park revitalization plan being spearheaded by the chamber’s Chief Alex Park Committee and managed by Parks and Recreation Department senior park planner Maeve Nevins-Lavtar.
On Monday, Nevins-Lavtar said she’s in the process of creating a formal landscape site plan, which will be used by the chamber to re-shape the park.
“What I’m trying to do with the landscape plan is reorganize it, clean it up,” Nevins-Lavtar said.
She noted there are several memorials and landmarks scattered throughout the park, which she’d like to see featured more prominently in the park’s design.
“I think it’s really important to tell the story of all these memorials,” she said.
Nevins-Lavtar plans to have a site plan created by mid-July, at which time she’ll bring it to the chamber for consideration before finalizing the plan. After that, the chamber will use the plan to raise funds to complete the redesign.
The chamber manages the park through a deal with Eklutna Inc., which owns the land but leases it to the chamber for $1.
Rinckey said the hope is to raise money over the winter, with work resuming next spring.
In the meantime, volunteers will continue to work at the park pruning trees, weeding and gardening. That there are so many people willing to help the effort, Nevins-Lavtar said, is an extremely encouraging sign.
“It’s a really neat group of people, they’re very engaged and it’s great to see the community coming together,” she said.
Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call (907) 257-4274.