What started out as an overgrown, triangle-shaped piece of land at the north end of the Dot Martin Bridge is slowly being transformed into a new park complete with bench seats and a panoramic view of the river, harbor and ocean.

Members of the Leadership Brookings-Harbor Class of 2001 spent more than five hours Saturday installing two bench seats and preparing the area for landscaping.

City workers had spent the week before clearing the site and hauling away brush and other vegetation.

The eight adult students in the leadership program are hoping to have the park finished, including landscaping, within a few weeks, said Jim Frerichs, spokesman for the group.

The class is planning to dedicate the finished park later this month, Frerichs said.

He said the working name for the park is Leadership Vista.

We sifted through 12 possible projects and this is the one we picked, said Frerichs.

Other projects considered by the class included painting the county jail and installing a higher quality camera at the port used to view the Chetco Rivermouth via the Internet.

Building a park at the end of the Chetco bridge is the perfect opportunity to do something that is both beneficial to residents and beautifies the city, Frerichs said.

The students are doing the project as part of Leadership Brookings-Harbor, a program developed by the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Southwestern Oregon Community College.

The purpose of the group is to develop informed, trained and committed leaders who understand the issues and needs of the community.

The park project culminates eight months of work for the students in the program, Frerichs said.

The students applied their newfound leadership skills to coordinate the project with Brookings city officials, Oregon Department of Transportation and local businesses.

After getting permission from Oregon Department of Transportation, which owns the land, the city moved in and cleared the site. Freeman Rock donated and delivered crushed rock used to create walking paths and a circular area where the benches were installed.

CompanionLink Software Inc. donated money to build the benches, which were designed and assembled by Frerichs, an employee of the company.

The benches provide comfortable seating for all who want to enjoy the view of the Chetco River, Port of Brookings Harbor and the Pacific. The students, under the guidance of the Brookings-Harbor Garden Club, hope to install native flora in the park this weekend or next, Frerichs said.

While some plants have been donated, the class is still looking for additional plants such as Ocean Spray, Cape Weed, Yankee Point or any other variety of low-growing shrubs, and assorted bulbs.

To donate plants, take them directly to the site when people are working there, or contact Lorraine Kuhns of the Brookings-Harbor Garden Club at (541) 469-5545.

The leadership class members are:Rusty Angelton, Evergreen Federal Bank; James DeHoog, Pacific Wood Laminates; Jim Frerichs, CompanionLink Software, Inc.; Linda Kelly, Banana Belt Trading Company; Lorraine Kuhn, Family Security Bank; Susan Lunsford, Chetco Federal Credit Union; Aleta Mankamyer, Southwestern Oregon Community College; Lisa Orozco, Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce.