Two new basketball courts are now open at Brookings Azalea Park.
City Public Works Deputy Director Jay Trost said the new basketball courts stemmed from lengthy discussions involving the Brookings Parks Commission, City Budget Committee and City Council, and have been added to strengthen Brookings’ outdoor recreational opportunities.
“The city had one outdoor basketball court located at Bud Cross Park,” he said. “Doing two more at Azalea Park will add a new activity to our already beautiful park, increase users and offer another enjoyable activity for our community.”
Trost said the two basketball courts, budgeted at $35,000, are centrally located between Kidtown - a play area for children - and the newly reconfigured ball fields at Azalea Park.
Trost said the new courts would soon be painted.
"We are very excited to provide this additional recreational opportunity to the community," he said.
Conduit for lighting was installed at the site of the new courts. Trost lights will be a proposed project for the future. The new basketball courts, and Azalea Park itself, are open from dawn to dusk.
In addition, the city is partnering with the Brookings Rotary Club to plan and develop an outdoor fitness project at the park.
“The vision of the outdoor fitness project is to provide a free fitness opportunity to users of all abilities,” he said. “It will strategically be located above the basketball courts, so users can use the fitness area while having a visual of Kidtown, the basketball courts, ballfields and the band shell.”
Rotary’s Judy May Lopez said the project emerged as a club interest over the past year. “Several Rotarians were talking about community projects and one was exercise stations,” she said.
“During the initial research stage, I was told the city was already working on this, so I met with Jay and got the details. They fit in perfectly with what Rotary was interested in, so a plan started coming together where Rotary could help with this project.”
Trost said the city has budgeted $12,000 for the fitness project and that Rotary is seeking additional funds to help out.
Meantime, the City of Brookings is moving ahead with updating its parks master plan, said Trost, with improvements that include a dog park at Chetco Point, and a patio addition to Capella by the Sea, a distinctive wood and stone chapel built by film producer Elmo Williams that can be rented for private events at Azalea Park.
“The weather will dictate when each project will begin,” said Trost, who added that the city has budgeted $485,760 for the parks.
The next step in updating the parks plan includes utilizing a grant from the University of Oregon’s Resources Assistance for Rural Environments, through which the city is benefiting from an intern from the university for the next 11 months.
“The intern, Erik Orta, brings all the resources available from the U of O, and he is actively working on the city parks five-year master plan,” Trost said. “We are in the middle of surveying the community to identify what the community would like to see.”
Once a plan has been developed, it will be presented to the Brookings Parks Commission. “If the parks commission approves the plan,” said Trost, “staff will take it to the City Council for final approval.”