Linn County Courthouse

Linn County to seek grant for John Neal Park upgrades

ALBANY — Linn County Parks & Recreation director Stacey Whaley was given a green light by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning to apply for a grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to make improvements at John Neal Memorial Park near Lyons.

The money would come from the Local Government Grant Program. Whaley said after the meeting that the amount of the grant request will be determined after engineering estimates are complete. If approved, Linn County would be required to match funding with labor, equipment and transient lodging taxes.

Whaley told Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker that the 30-acre park borders the North Santiam River and is one of the older parks in the county system.

The park has 23 campsites for RVs, trailers and tents as well as group camping opportunities, although Whaley said the camping slips are not as long as more modern camping slips. The renovation would include increasing camping slip sizes as well as providing electricity and water to all of the sites.

According to the Parks & Recreation Department’s website, “Fishing, floating and rafting on the wild waters of the North Santiam River are the main attractions for visitors to this 30-acre park. While camping or enjoying a picnic at John Neal, visitors can search for the park’s abundant wildlife on trails that wind through wetlands and beaver ponds. Explore, fish, and raft the Santiam River and take advantage of early spring or fall camping while enjoying the quiet atmosphere and wildlife.”

There also is a playground for children

Whaley said in a written report that the park has a 22% occupancy rate from May 1 through Labor Day and brings in about $67,000. With upgrades, Whaley believes income could grow to more than $85,000.

The park sits in a beautiful spot and although the Labor Day 2020 fires burned in the area, it did not damage the campground, Whaley said.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Accepted a plaque of appreciation from Christine Ferguson of the Linn County Veterans Day Committee for the county’s support of the annual parade and other events. The county allows the group to use the Courthouse steps for programming and rooms in the courthouse for tallying the band judging.
  • Approved amending the Linn County Public Contracting Rules presented by County Attorney Gene Karandy. The document amends the scope of personal services contracts to include contracts for computer software, hardware and network system implementation, support, repair and maintenance services.
  • Appointed Shannon Pettner of Sweet Home to a four-year term on the Ambulance Service Area Advisory Committee.
  • Approved the appointment of Ricardo Contreras to a new Position 7 on the Community Action Advisory Council.
  • Approved a business license for Highway 34 Towing & Repair, 34100 Oakville Road.
  • Were told by Planning & Building Director Steve Wills that 233 total non-structural permits were issued in January and there were 21 dwelling permits. There were seven new code enforcement cases and nine cases were closed.

Media contact: Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer, 541-967-3825 or email [email protected].