CHINOOK - The Pacific County Department of Community Development unveiled two alternatives for the future improvement of Chinook Park on Thursday. The preferred choice, Alternative A, would transform the area into a community park catering to local and regional residents.

Mike DeSimone, assistant director of the DCD, said in the public meeting held at the Chinook Fire Hall, that Alternative A would improve the park by landscaping and adding facilities such as fire pits, covered picnic areas and a playground.

Alternative B would include many of the same improvements, but assumes that Washington State Parks or some other entity will develop an interpretive wayside, rest stop or similar facility on Parks-owned land at the eastern end of the park. This alternative would require an additional exit from the highway, and turn lanes would need to be added to alleviate traffic congestion.

Both alternatives add a general parking area as well as 10 picnic areas with low landscape berms to block prevailing spring and summer winds. Each berm would be planted with native shrubs and low-growing trees to act as a windbreak as well as a partial privacy screen between picnic sites.

In earlier meetings, the Citizens Advisory Group discussed leveling out a portion of the park to make it more conducive to recreational use. A further measure to improve the condition of open grass areas would be to install sub-surface irrigation so a more favorable grass/clover mix could be established.

The CAG also recommended improving at least one of the two existing restroom facilities by making it handicap-accessible and adding a new waste water treatment system. Of the two existing facilities, one is operational, and the other would need some aesthetic work as the building itself is structurally sound.

Local residents that were present at the meeting liked both proposals, and with a small change to the location of the parking area, they agreed that the proposal is ready to be finalized and sent to the Department of Ecology.

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