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Student leaves his mark on Seaside parks plan

Focus on green space, accessibility
By R.J. Marx

The Daily Astorian

Published on July 31, 2017 10:24AM

Last changed on August 2, 2017 4:15PM

Visitors critique the city’s parks.


Visitors critique the city’s parks.

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Christian Montbriand presents a look at Seaside’s parks.


Christian Montbriand presents a look at Seaside’s parks.

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Seaside parks are shown on this map.

Submitted Drawing

Seaside parks are shown on this map.

Christian Montbriand will be leaving Seaside at the end of July, but not before he leaves his mark on the city and its future.

Montbriand led a parks master plan open house at the Seaside Library Wednesday night, sharing a vision for the city’s parks in years to come.

Praise, criticism, goals and opportunities were also shared by about 40 residents gathered to find ways to improve the city’s recreation area at the parks system update.

Montbriand has spent a year of service here as part of the RARE (Resource Assistance for Rural Environments) AmeriCorps program, helping to develop tsunami education outreach and the parks master plan in Seaside.

The plan gives the city a look at where the city’s parks will be in the next 20 years.

Plusses and minuses

At Wednesday’s open house, residents highlighted park benefits of proximity to ocean and nature, accessibility and wide range of use.

Park negatives included dumping, lack of bike racks and limited athletic fields.

Residents said they hoped to retain city green space in the face of ongoing development.

An Illinois native, Montbriand said he hoped his efforts would “activate and energize” the parks advisory committee.

“Unfortunately, I will not be able to see the updates all through,” he said. “I’m trying to get them on the best foot forward so they can go through and finish up this project.”

He said he hoped to identify the data from the parks inventory to synthesize into the capital improvements program.

Taking comments

Montbriand’s work has been overseen by Public Works Director Dale McDowell.

McDowell said he plans to summarize the findings at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“From there it goes back to the parks advisory board,” McDowell said. “With all of the recommendations, it will come back eventually to me at Public Works and will go through everything, what’s feasible and what’s not. This will all be plugged into an updated master plan.”

“What can’t get done and what will be done, I’ll find out after we have the discussion,” McDowell said.

Montbriand urged residents to let their thoughts be known, either at upcoming meetings or online.

“The online survey is still open, so we encourage people to provide input,” he said. “Last night I checked, there were 83 responses, which is more than I expected.”

This fall, Montbriand heads to the University of Oregon for his graduate degree.

He is studying planning with a transportation focus.


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