Neighborsand parks board pitch in to improve Montfort Park

Published on Thu, Sep 1, 2005 by JanHrutfiord

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Neighbors and parks board pitch in to improve Montfort Park

By Jan Hrutfiord

Montfort Park is one of Blaine’s oldest parks and is classified as a neighborhood park which will be used primarily by those who live in the immediate vicinity. It was donated to the city by Mrs. Montfort in memory of her husband, Donald Montfort, in 1919. This two-acre piece of land on the waterfront, with an additional one and a half acre access strip, contains a nice stand of second growth trees, primarily Douglas fir. There are paths going through the park which are used by neighbors who wish to watch the sunsets over Drayton Harbor on nice evenings, and by those walkers and sometimes bike riders who use the park as part of their exercise routine.

The park has needed a good cleanup and some new amenities to make it more usable for the public. As such, a neighborhood meeting was held at the end of Dodd Street on June 30, with about 30 neighbors attending. At the meeting, led by city planners Terry Galvin and Brent Baldwin, they discussed their wants for the park, mainly preserving the wildlife and trees that are already existing, and ways to accentuate the beautiful views out over Drayton Harbor from the park.

On a hot Saturday morning in July, neighbors and the park board group met to clear blackberries and other weeds and put down gravel on those paths which needed to be resurfaced. The roaring of weed eaters, lawnmowers, and chain saws resounded through Montfort Park as the neighborhood cleanup project got underway. The city provided two dump truck loads of gravel for the paths, and the neighbors and park board members provided the muscle to get the job done. After three hours of hot weather and hard work, the main path into Montfort Park off of Dodd Street was widened to eight feet, with a wide gravel path running most of the way through the access strip to the park.
The paths through the wooded area of the park have been cleared of brush, and an area overlooking the shoreline has been opened up for a view site.

There was a public meeting of those in the Montfort Park neighborhood August 18, in the city hall, after the monthly park board meeting, to plan the next steps toward revitalizing this beautiful old neighborhood park. Most of those attending wanted a passive park plan, but there was some discussion from those who do use the park for riding their bikes, too. More work will be done to clear away unwanted underbrush, and further study on how the park will best be used for the neighborhood is underway.

It will be interesting to see how the park develops to fit the needs of those who live nearby. The Montfort family, who were early pioneers of Blaine, known by many as half of the Wolten and Montfort grocery and hardware store on Peace Portal Drive, will be remembered for their foresight in saving a piece of Blaine’s waterfront for public use.