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Outdoor Recreation Center Planned for Roseburg

1:03 AM · Sep 18, 2021

The last undeveloped riverfront property in Roseburg is being turned into an outdoor recreation center with miniature golf, a velodrome BMX bike racing track, bouldering walls, a splash pad, ping pong, foosball, cornhole and other activities as well as a central clubhouse where community members can take lifestyle and nutrition classes in a teaching kitchen. The park will be called Thundering Water, which the park board president Cordell Smith said is the Chinook translation of “Umpqua.” The opening is set for Memorial Day weekend of 2023. Cordell said the center is an extension of healthcare in Roseburg by being a preventative, proactive approach to providing affordable recreation and lifestyle and nutrition education. By getting more of the community moving together and connecting with each other, Smith and the other board members believe they can help bring the rates of preventable diseases down, like high blood pressure and diabetes. “The whole thing was inspired by health and wellness professionals in the county wanting to use their skills and resources to move health and wellness upstream,” Smith said. “Everything at this park is designed to strengthen parent and children relationships as well as friends. It’s a small way that we can move our efforts upstream to prevent illness. People in healthcare spend so much time on the back end dealing with the aftermath.” Smith is a foot and ankle doctor in Roseburg who has seen firsthand how the community is suffering and the healthcare system is designed to treat symptoms and the effects of diseases instead of the causes. Douglas County is ranked among the nine least healthy counties in Oregon according to countyhealthyrankings.org. The ranking is based on length of life, premature deaths and quality of life. A lot of these health rankings have environmental and personal choice factors, but those personal choices and the diseases themselves impact the community from the burden on the local healthcare, to the food options available by popular demand, to how long a child has a parent, or how long a child will live. “There really is no such thing as a private choice,” Smith said. “Every private choice we make has public consequences.” The park is a nonprofit built for the community, by the community. The board is made up of community members in engineering, healthcare, education, and manufacturing. The project already has a long list of people in the community who have committed time and money to making the project work from city councilors to local contractors and food truck operators to nutrition educators. “There’s a lot of people stepping forward to make this happen,” Smith said. Smith said the park will be family friendly and fun “whether you’re 90 years old or 5 years old.” The property at 1802 W Harvard Ave. is approximately 3.5 acres and the project budget is $2.5 million. The park will be open to receive small and large donations from the community by cash and check to Smith’s clinic at 2300 NW Stewart Pkwy, care of Cordell Smith. Checks can be addressed to Thundering Water. Donors will be given a tax-deduction slip.

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