Contact: Thomas Hottman
Mayor Todd Kellstrom smiles after cutting the ribbon at the opening of Sugarman's Corner pocket park while surrounded by people involved in the downtown project on Thursday.
A large crowd gathered at the corner of North Sixth and Main Streets in Klamath Falls Thursday afternoon to celebrate the opening of Sugarman's Corner, the city's first pocket park.
Holding a pair of gargantuan scissors, Klamath Falls Mayor Todd Kellstrom clipped the red ribbon to formally introduce the park to the community.
"This has been two years in the making," said Heidi Neel Biggs, executive director of the Klamath Community Foundation, as the crowd gathered around the new park.
Biggs said the movement toward constructing the park started when local high school students helped clear the former vacant lot of rocks, along with Klamath Falls Downtown Association President Kendall Bell and other local leaders.
Biggs recalls Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke and Katherine Pope, of Sky Lakes Wellness Center, asked why nothing permanent was being done at the site.
"Their vision was so captivating, our committee just exploded," Biggs said.
The project is complete in time for the Fourth of July parade, and is expected to become a central gathering place in the downtown corridor.
Attendees on Thursday sat on the side of raised planter beds, admiring the variety of plants and trees indigenous to the Klamath Basin as well as a sculpture of a heron created by local artist Stefan Savides.
Bronze sculptures of steelhead are expected to be installed soon in a dry creek bed constructed at the park, also the creation of Savides.
"This is a great opportunity to show what we can continue to do in this town," Savides said.
The park is named for Kiva Sugarman, a man born in Romania who moved to Klamath Falls in the 1900s and ran a store at the same site as the park as early as 1906.
"K. Sugarman got to be here to watch the town grow," said Todd Kepple, manager of the Klamath County Museum.
"He donated a lot of money here in town and he did so that most people never knew anything about it, and what a great tribute to Mr. Sugarman."