Valley of the Moon park gets lighting safety improvements, more parking
More than one year after a double homicide in Valley of the Moon Park the Municipality of Anchorage is making major safety improvements to the area.
Police said suspected serial killer James Dale Richie killed 34-year-old Kevin Turner and 25-year-old Brie DeHusson on August 28, 2016.
Upgrades include lighting, parking expansion and a new dog park.
Municipal park planner Taylor Keegan said the improvements have been a part of the Parks and Recreation Department’s master plan for the park since 2015.
Advocates from the Anchorage Park Foundation said the community safety meetings after the murders last year highlighted the areas that needed more work.
“The community demand for safety certainly hit a flash point last summer and they had several volunteer events in this area,” said executive director Beth Nordlund. “The powers that be decided lighting was something we wanted to invest in.”
Altogether the renovations add up to about $400,000, which will be paid for by bond money.
The 2016 bond for the $196,000 lighting project will enhance visibility in the parking lot and the picnic shelter. The muni will spend $49,000 from a 2014 bond for a new, one-acre dog park with a six-foot high fence.
“It’s about listening to our users and providing a nice space for them,” Keegan said. “We were able to upgrade the fence, it's a little more suitable, instead of the waist high fence it will be six feet tall.”
As more people use the trail and the dog park, Nordlund said the more parking becomes an issue. With $150,000 from a 2015 bond crews are expanding the lot by an additional 28 spaces.
“The parking lot everyone knows was well needed. We all used to park along the street on this curve, a little dangerous,” Nordlund said.
Community members will also get a chance to help beautify the park with Neighborhood Fix-It projects to install a new rain garden.
“We want to hear what you love about your parks, what we could improve,” Keegan said. “It’s a great place to meet your neighbors and get out and get dirty.”
Parks and Recreation and the Anchorage Park Foundation will hold a Valley of the Moon Fix-It on Saturday, September 9.