FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Ridgefield Welcome Center Open House
Press Contact Information:
Justin Clary, Interim City Manager
Jim Maul, President
Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Ridgefield, WA, December 13, 2006 – A public meeting to solicit community input for conceptual plans for the new Welcome Center plaza and park in downtown Ridgefield will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, 2007 at Ridgefield’s Community Center, located at 210 North Main Avenue.
The Welcome Center site, located at the corner of Pioneer Street and Main Avenue, is envisioned to provide the community with a public square located at the center of Ridgefield’s downtown commercial district accompanied by spectacular views of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The plaza will be designed to complement the small town charm of Ridgefield’s historic downtown, provide facilities for orientation of visitors to the City and the Refuge with brochures and guidebooks, and serve as a community focal point and gathering place. The Center is also envisioned to anchor the Refuge to Ridgefield’s Old Town and enhance the connection of the community with the Refuge.
The Center will form a future hub for a system of walking and cycling trails throughout the City, and ultimately, Clark County. The City has recently completed its Comprehensive Park & Recreation Plan, which includes plans for a comprehensive network of trails throughout the City with connections to County trails. Segments of the County trail system currently exist on Lower River Road, Burnt Bridge Creek, Salmon Creek and the East Fork of the Lewis River. These segments will connect to Ridgefield’s Welcome Center, providing an ideal location for a public gateway from the urban to the wild.
The City of Ridgefield in partnership with the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, the Ridgefield Garden Club, downtown merchants, and interested citizens are working together to design this downtown plaza. The conceptual design was an outcome of the 2000 Summer Student Program conducted by EDAW, Inc. of Seattle, Washington to develop plans to commemorate the 200th year anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition including the expedition’s visitation of the present-day Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. EDAW is a world-renowned landscape architecture firm. The Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge has contracted with EDAW to complete the design of the Welcome Center plaza and park.
The City of Ridgefield, incorporated in 1909, is located in northern Clark County, Washington, within less than an hour of 2 million people. The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge gets over 100,000 visitors per year and the City of Ridgefield is the Gateway Community for many of these visitors. Attractions on the Refuge include year round wildlife and nature viewing and a full-size replica of a Chinookan Indian Plankhouse, modeled after those found on the Cathlapotle village on the Refuge.