Cherryhill Park opening in East Wenatchee signals another win for collaboration, vision
East Wenatchee’s Cherryhill Park opened last week with a ribbon cutting and a small celebration of the collaborative efforts that made this project a success and will contribute to the quality of life of the community.
It’s the first new park in the community in half a century. As our population grows, so does the need for people to connect with nature. Parks are essential for the physical and mental well being of our neighbors.
The development of the park started about five years ago, when Peter Hill, the local representative of The Trust for Public Land started talking about the possibility of a new park at the site, which is located on 9th Street, just west of the clinic operated by Columbia Valley Community Health.
Hill’s wife, Joanne, was at the time on the board of the health organization and the two of them were instrumental in building the foundation for this project.
CVCH leaders see parks as essential amenities promoting physical and mental health and have provided financial support and encouragement to create Cherryhill Park.
David Patten, the regional director for TPL, said that CVCH’s support was critical in getting the park project launched. The national nonprofit has a robust Parks for People Program and provided community outreach as well as identified outside financial support to help make the project possible.
The park will serve more than 3,000 people, including 750 children, within 10-minute walking distance of the site. The location next to CVCH creates opportunities for health care providers and patients to access the park and become part of the medical organization’s efforts to promote health and well-being.
The Trust for Public Land worked in concert with the Eastmont Metropolitan Parks District and other local partners to come up with a plan for the 2.2-acre property, which had served as cherry orchard from the 1930s until about 2008. It’s just a beautiful place for a park that gives tremendous views of the valley.
Funding for the project came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, Columbia Valley Community Health, Icicle Fund, North Central Washington Community Foundation, and dozens of private supporters.
Patten pointed out that the EPA participation was something unique. They funded the environmental cleanup of the site that was necessary because of contamination after years of use in agriculture.
Sally Brawley, the head of the park district, told onlookers at the ribbon cutting that “it’s been quite a journey for all of us” and the process allowed the district to “step outside of our comfort zone and do something a little bit different.”
One of the things that I have learned in the past several years is that parks are far more essential to the health and well-being of a community than I previously understood.
TPL provided leadership, technical expertise and facilitation services to get Kiwanis Methow Park redeveloped in South Wenatchee as well as develop Cherryhill Park. Tapping into the needs of the community as an essential first step of developing a park ensures that what’s developed meets the needs of the neighborhood.
A well programmed park is infinitely more valuable than just a vacant lot with some playground equipment and grass.
The opening of Cherryhill Park is just one more example of bringing the community together to create an asset that will benefit the residents in perpetuity.
Hurst Construction of East Wenatchee was awarded the contract for the project and completed the clean up and construction on time and on budget.