Willamalane Purchases 175 Acres

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Willamalane is wasting no time using the $20 million approved by voters last November.

First thing on the list: a new park with a massive trail system.

One of Willamalane’s first purchases with those new bond dollars was this 175-acre plot of land in the Thurston Hills ridgeline–land they plan to add to and develop into a whole new group of hiking and biking trails.

The $2.5 million worth of land purchased from the Gray Jaqua family has been in the works since 2004. So once voters passed last year’s $20 million bond, acquiring the east-Springfield land was finally a reality.

“This is really the very beginning of a future plan to preserve the ridgeline forever in this community, for those who want to hike and walk and mountain bike along the ridgeline,” said Bob Keefer, Willamalane Superintendent.

Keefer says developing a trail system was the first thing on residents’ wish lists on recent surveys, and he says the parks and recreation staff is so excited to finally get going on giving this gift.

“That’s our hope is that it could be a recreation place, a learning laboratory, a piece of peace and quiet for folks, and a beautiful backdrop for our community,” Keefer said.

Willamalane administrators say they’re also in talks about two other plots of land that would add another 300 acres to the 175 they bought this week.

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