VANCOUVER, WA-Portland-based Pacific Coast Inc. is the low bidder for an enhancement of Esther Short Park, considered the oldest community square in the state. Pacific Coast’s bid of 1.586 million – $14,000 under the city engineer’s estimate – was the lowest if eight submitted bids.

The goal is to give downtown Vancouver a more attractive assembly point for community activities. The enhancement will be to the park’s southeast corner, and will be similar to Portland’s Pioneer Square. It will include 36,000 sf of bricks, concrete steps and seat walls, flower pots, lighting, a kiosk and a waterfall with fiber-optic lighting. A bell tower also may eventually be included, if the money is there. The project is now scheduled for completion in June 2001, a few months behind its original schedule. A formal dedication initially was planned for March 2001.

The park in the past has been home to the city’s transient population. Now it is part of the city’s $200 million-plus drive to reinvent its downtown. The project is being funded with a $2 million donation from Vancouver philanthropists George and Carolyn Propstra, and $500,000 the city previously set aside for renovating Esther Short Park. The extra money will go toward design fees. The Popstras also are creating an ewndowment for the square’s ongoing maintenance.