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On Friday morning, June 10th, Rotarians held a ribbon-cutting for the newest amenity at Stagecoach Park – the outdoor percussion instruments that make up the Musical Park. Every five years or so the Evergreen Rotary Foundation dedicates a substantial amount of money to what they call their "Legacy Project." This go-around the proposal for a Musical Park submitted by Kay LaMontagne won the nod of those evaluating ten or more applications for consideration. The proposal was inspired by a similar park in Moab, Utah, also funded by a Rotary group.
A sum of $30,000 was approved for the purchase and installation of the weatherproof instruments designed for people of all ages with or without musical talent. Another $3,000 was dedicated for maintenance.
Working in cooperation with the Evergreen Parks and Recreation District, the instruments were installed in May.
The celebration at dawn drew about 100 Rotarians and guests who enjoyed a breakfast before the ribbon-cutting.
History of Stagecoach Park
In the late 1990s residents of El Pinal had approached EPRD to consider acquiring the acreage buffering their subdivision from the highway. At the time, zoning would have allowed for any number of kinds of development… commercial, another 22 homes or a combination of multi-family and commercial to be built there.
In 2000, a commercial complex was planned for the acreage until members of the Evergreen Land Community Coalition (ELCC) got involved. ELCC was the small contingent of hands-on citizens responsible for convincing EPRD of the potential for Buchanan Park and working hand-in-hand with the district to secure community support for a bond election a few years earlier.
ELCC met with landowners who agreed to work with the community. By 2003 the EPRD board of directors was open to negotiating, thanks to board member Peter Eggers who asked for "creative solutions." Board members Linda Dahl and Mike Jacoby were also instrumental in supporting the project.
Photos of the property before the purchase….
ELCC organized to pursue alternatives, broadening homeowner involvement by creating a Steering Committee comprised of representatives of five different HOAs and conducting a professional survey of all property owners north of the lake to determine a preference for a self-improvement district or a sub-district of EPRD.
With more than 3,000 surveys mailed, a 16 percent response showed 74 percent of respondents in favor of increasing taxes at the rate of $40 annually for every $300,000 in real estate value. (The results were similar to the community-wide survey done to enlist support for Buchanan Park.)
ELCC became known as Citizens for Parks, campaigning for residents to approve a wider spectrum of park initiatives to benefit EPRD.
Approval to acquire the 11 acres was incorporated into ballot wording in 2004 asking voters to approve a bond issue that would purchase 17 acres of land (including 6 acres in Buchanan Park), provide for improvements to Marshdale Park, and to pay for much-needed improvements at the Wulf Recreation Center. Voters approved the ballot issue, and the 11 acres referred to as El Pinal Park was purchased. The name officially given to the area by EPRD was Stagecoach Park.
The park was graded to create a small ball field, a multi-purpose grass field and parking. In 2007 a playground was dedicated. In 2010 Bob the Dinosaur became a permanent fixture in the northern part of the park thanks to Sculpture Evergreen. In 2016 the Musical Park was added, thanks to the Evergreen Rotary Foundation.
Statistics showed in recent years that Stagecoach Park was the most-utilized park in the EPRD system.