MEDFORD, Ore. – An effort by the Medford Urban Renewal Agency could bring major changes to Hawthorne Park, in an effort to make it more family-friendly and cut down on crime.
MURA is expected to approve a contract for a $1.6 million construction project at the park. The plan would include a dog park, basketball courts, expanded parking lots, new walkways, and increased lighting, among other improvements. If the plan is approved, work could begin later this year.
“We’re going to completely redo Hawthorne Park,” said John Michaels, MURA board member.
Despite several events like the Medford Cruise being held in Hawthorne Park recently, it has been a hotspot for crime in recent years, and has gained a reputation as a hangout for homeless people. Medford Police responded to 717 calls for service in Hawthorne Park in the past year, including 20 calls for assaults, 20 calls for drugs, 36 calls for theft, and one call for rape. Exclusion notices have been issued to 106 people.
Michaels said the new design of the park will make it more visible from the outside, which should help reduce crime.
“We’ve designed it so people can see through the park with much better lighting all the way around, which should help improve a lot of those issues,” he said.