Martin Luther King Jr. Park is going to receive some upgrades, with public outreach sessions also on the horizon to guide development of the park into the future.

Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department officials originally had hoped to spruce up the park last year, but a grant opportunity fell through and the city was forced to regroup.

Now, with a $147,500 grant in hand, the project is going forward. Beginning Thursday the playground will be closed for the installation of new equipment. Also underway is work on upgrading Walnut Barn, which is used for parties and other events. A new arbor and patio will be added to the facility.

New restrooms and grading of pedestrian path also are included in the project, which costs $425,000. In addition to the grant, systems development charges funds will be used to pay for the upgrades.

Parks and Rec also is working on a new master plan for the 29-acre park in northwest Corvallis along Walnut Boulevard. Parks planner Jackie Rochefort said that one session will be held early this winter and the second next spring.

“We are still early in the process and fine-tuning the schedule,” Rochefort said. The master plan work likely will take six months, Rochefort said.

Up in the air is the status of the ball fields area. The two fields no longer are used as part of the city’s recreation softball leagues, but they can be reserved by groups.

“The possibilities are wide open at this time,” Rochefort said, “but I can say that the ball field area is certainly up for discussion.”

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or


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