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AmeriCorps to kick off Jackson Hole Improvement project Saturday

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A representative sketch of the completed Jackson Hole improvement project by community organizer Nancy Chennault.

The first phase of a beautification project to transform Castle Rock’s storm water retention pond into a wildlife habitat will be taking place this Saturday thanks to volunteers with Cowlitz County AmeriCorps.

Known locally as Jackson Hole, the retention pond, located on Jackson St. near Cascade Select Market, currently serves as the final destination for water and debris running through the city’s stormwater system. But community activists say they feel it could also serve the city was an educational and artistic centerpiece, and are hoping AmeriCorps will help begin that transformation this weekend.

The plan, according to reports shared during the Feb. 10 Castle Rock City Council meeting, is for volunteers to begin clearing out the grass currently growing in the pond and make way for decorative, indigenous plants to be added later on. They are also expected to place wooden stumps and logs to enhance the landscape for local animals, and to paint a large mural on the concrete wall facing the south side of the pond.

In order to prepare for the work day, AmeriCorps representative MacKenzie Wentworth confirmed plans with the City Council during their March 24 meeting, and officials gave their seal of approval for the project to begin.

“We appreciate you guys coming up and doing that,” said Mayor Paul Helenberg to Wentworth of the project.

Public Works Supervisor Dave Vorse, who has been coordinating with volunteers, said he expects at least 50 people will be attending the even and their intent is to commit most of the day to the project. The work left undone is expected to be completed during the city’s annual Cleanup Day on May 3.

Jackson Hole is the latest project Castle Rock has undertaken recently to enhance and beautify the city, following the water feature outside City Hall in 2012 and improvements to the park outside the historic city jail in 2013. The city has already been commended by organizations such as America in Bloom for their efforts and future projects are expected to follow in the coming years.

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