July 10, 2019 — George Miller Park is one of Florence’s most popular public facilities. The 20-acre, multi-use park is centrally located off of Oak and 20th streets and is slated for a major facilities upgrade in the weeks to come.
Miller Park, as it is commonly referred to, has four baseball fields, two softball fields, two playgrounds, a skate park, a basketball court, picnic pavilions and restrooms.
It is the premier public sports complex in Florence and the Florence City Council recently approved the acceptance of a grant for $360,000 to improve some of the outdated facilities at the park, including new restrooms and an updated concession stand. The underlying electrical and plumbing systems to these buildings will also be replaced.
The money was received after Public Works Director Mike Miller applied for state and federal assistance to upgrade parts of the deteriorating infrastructure at the park and the initial stages of the project have begun.
According to Miller, the project is a bit behind schedule but, as with many projects of similar scope, delays are inevitable. In this case, the original contractor awarded the bid was unable to begin work as expected and an alternate vendor was selected. This change caused a brief delay in construction, which is now beginning, with initial work underway to prepare the site for a complete overhaul later this summer.
“We have crews placing and compacting gravel for the footings and slab to bring everything up to final grade before the concrete is poured. Once the gravel is compacted and to the final grade, crews will install the rebar for the slab and then pour the concrete footings and slab,” Miller said. “The rough plumbing and electrical conduits have been installed, with the labor to install the plumbing donated by several of our area plumbers.”
The upgrades to the park are important as community use of the park has increased, as evidenced by the Aug. 6 return of Florence Police Department’s “National Night Out,” a safety and informational event that made its debut last year.
The National Night Out was designed to offer an inclusive community event that is oriented towards improving communication and trust between local first responders and residents. Last year’s event was such a success that Police Chief Tom Turner reported that the Florence Police Department had been awarded the “Rookie of The Year Award” for its efforts.
The improvement of all of the parks in Florence was included in the 2019 City of Florence Workplan and highlighted as a priority goal during the next biennium. The current workplan specifically mentions working with the Siuslaw Baseball Association, Siuslaw Youth Soccer Association and other community partners to improve and expand sport and fitness opportunities for residents at Miller Park.
Florence has nearly 200 acres of public park lands at 22 different sites, many of which offer opportunities for volunteers to assist staff in maintaining the parks.
There is also an Adopt-a-Park Program, which allows individuals to focus their volunteer efforts on one park in which they have a particular interest.
For more information, visit ci.florence.or.us or call 541-997-4106.