Chitwood Lane park development on hold

The development of a neighborhood park behind the Ashlander Apartments is on hold.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Department held a neighborhood forum in October to get ideas from residents about developing department-owned land along Chitwood Lane, off upper Clay Street.

In late November, the Parks Commission decided to put the park's creation on the slow track.

The Parks Department bought the land in 2006 for $339,667, said Parks Superintendent Steve Gies.

Parks Director Don Robertson said most of the commissioners don't see an urgent need to develop the park.

"It will be a park someday, just not right away," he said.

Neighbors have given parks commissioners mixed messages about creating the park.

Some have said that leaving the land undeveloped is having a negative impact on their property values.

Others have said Chitwood Lane is such a small, narrow street that there is no room for additional cars if people drive to the site.

Few families with children attended the October forum to say whether they felt a need for a park.

The Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation is planning a five-unit affordable housing project near the property that will add to the neighborhood's population.

A master plan to guide the park's development would cost about $10,000 to $15,000, with construction costing less than $1 million, Robertson estimated.

In July, the Parks Commission approved buying land on lower Clay Street for another park for $1.3 million.

There is no timeline yet for developing that park, Robertson said.

Although the two park properties are both near Clay Street, they are three-quarters of a mile apart, Gies said.

"We have a goal to have a neighborhood park within one-quarter mile of every resident," Gies said.

The Jackson County Housing Authority, in partnership with the city of Ashland and state government, is building a 60-unit affordable housing project on lower Clay Street.

"It will be a really high density zone when that's finished," Gies said.

It's not uncommon for several years to pass between the time the Parks Department buys land and when it develops a park, he said.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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