Look back: Clifford Park in Auburn gets a cleaning | History

July 26, 2007

AUBURN — Workers got busy cleaning up a neighborhood park that Residents complained had fallen into disrepair.

On June 28, a group of homeowners complained about excessive trash, overflowing garbage barrels, lackluster garden beds, a deteriorating shed and the neglected lawn at the Jack Clifford Memorial Park.

Since the Neighbors aired their concerns, city crews have pulled down bleachers that sat in dirt, that caused maintenance problems with weeding. Also, the unstable structure did not meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, city manager Mark Palesh said.

“The park was designed for people to bring in lawn chairs and blankets,” he said. Park users also can enjoy mended or replaced benches with fresh coats of paint that line the play area.

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Mary, Steel and Swift Streets border the park, nicknamed the Y field.

Replacing the swings and re-siding the shed top the list of the next Improvements to the park, which is good news to Amanda Johnson.

Her 14-year-old daughter swings faithfully every night on the set that wobbles and creaks.

Johnson would like to see a new, sturdier swing set in the park which lies across the street from her home.

The nearby playscape is fairly new, but Johnson would like to see a tether ball for children too old for the climbing equipment but not old enough to join basketball games.

However, workers still need to make improvements on what’s already there.

They intend to sandblast the tennis courts later in the season, as well as the fences, Palesh said. Peeling green paint hangs off the bottom bars of the rusting metal fence that surrounds the clay courts.

Palesh doesn’t think solely in terms of safety issues, he said.

“Parks should be inviting,” they said.

Officials will look at the curbing that surrounds the recreational space, as well as all Parks within city limits. This year’s city street program has curbing in those areas as a priority.

“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and all of it positive,” Palesh said of changes to Clifford.

Residents talk to him about the progress and tell him they appreciate the city’s speed for fixing the problems they mentioned last month.

Tony Prave often brings his daughter and their dog to Clifford Park. Prave enjoys the comfortable park and Gianna, 8, likes the swings.

He’s never noticed any of the problems and issues brought to Palesh’s attention last month.

“I don’t even pay attention to that (stuff),” Prave said.

— Compiled by David Wilcox

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