MEDFORD, Ore. — Bulldozers and backhoes are tearing down Hawthorne Park’s pool in what is the first step in remodeling the park. The pool was permanently closed in 2011 and has sat vacant ever since.
Plans are now underway to make over not only the area where the pool once stood, but also the entire Hawthorne Park. Where a line for the diving board used to be just three years ago, backhoes and rubble now sit, but Medford Parks and Recreation officials say this is the first step in remodeling Hawthorne Park.
When it was officially shut down in 2011, the Hawthorne Pool was 61 years old and leaking 33 thousand gallons of water every day. Medford Parks Director Brian Sjothun says the age of the pool caught up with it and the entire infrastructure needed to be replaced.
He says the pool would have needed to be torn down and then rebuilt in order to keep a pool at that location. When voters turned down the option of two new aquatic centers last fall, city officials moved forward with other plans.
“It’s part of the rehabilitation of the park which has new walking paths and playgrounds and still reserving a site on the southern portion of the park for hopefully an aquatic center someday,” said Director Brian Sjothun.
The park’s rehabilitation is being paid for through urban renewal funding and is expected to be open roughly in the fall of 2014. In addition to the dog park, skate park and playgrounds that will be added, food carts and art vendors will be invited to set up on certain days.
Accommodations for events like the Medford Cruise will be made so that construction will pause and not interfere.