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Proposed park.
Women’s Club pitches plan for park district posted on 08/31/2019

Representatives from the Hoodland Women’s Club (HWC) kicked off a two-month community polling process at the Tuesday, Aug. 6 Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce meeting as part of the grass roots initiative to form a new Hoodland Community Park District for the funding of a new park in Welches.

Regina Lythgoe, HWC committee co-chair for Hoodland Park District, noted the park district would be funded with property tax dollars from residents in the district as well as grants. She stated the current estimated tax rate would be between $0.49 and $0.54 per $1,000 of assessed property value, with an estimated annual assessment of $150-165 on a $300,000 home. The tax base would create an estimated annual budget between $480,000 and $520,000.

“It could be the jewel of the community,” Lythgoe said. “It will be built for the safety of children and community to go outside and recreate.”

This presentation was the first of several the HWC is holding around the mountain through September to discuss potential plans for the park and to take a poll of public sentiment regarding the proposed tax district.

“Formation of the park district requires an initial expenditure of considerable time and money,” the HWC explained in information accompanying the poll.  “The HWC is willing to take on this task, however, we want to be certain this is deemed to be a worthy cause and one that will be supported by local residents.”

The potential park tax district will use the same district lines as the Oregon Trail School District 46.

The park was first proposed when Clackamas County offered to gift the deeds to three parcels of property on Salmon River Road in Welches for the formation of a community park.  The parcels include the former site of the Dorman Center across from Welches Elementary School and the current community garden space. The county can only deed land to a government or a public entity such as a park district.

The HWC has secured a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from the county for a deed transfer for the three parcels upon the establishment of a funded park district with a governing board in the November 2020 elections. If the district is not established the county will sell the property to the highest bidder.

The HWC consulted with the Mackenzie Group, a regional design firm that created a park design proposal to conduct a feasibility study and determine costs for initial development and long-term maintenance of a park in the community.

Some features of the proposed park include a pavilion, amphitheater, skate park, dog park, play area, expanded community gardens, and walking path with an accessible inner loop. The park would also require restrooms, lighting, parking with shuttle drop-off, benches, kiosks and bike racks.

The Mackenzie Group’s proposal noted, “Using a comparative analysis, the park design could cost between $3 million and $5 million in today’s construction market.” The proposal cited excavation, grading and the skate park being major cost leaders.

 “We’ll be frugal with the tax money,” Lythgoe said.  She added the park will be managed by a board of locally elected members and will create jobs in the community.

If enough of the community shows favorable interest in the park a petition will be circulated to get the park district, the tax base for the district and nominated board members on the ballot for November 2020.

Lythgoe said the petition will need support from 750 voters in the proposed district and the HWC will need to submit the petitions to the county clerk’s office by March 2020 to get it on the ballot.

The HWC will be presenting the park proposal at the Rhododendron CPO meeting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in the public meeting room of the Hoodland Fire Station, 69634 E. Hwy. 26 in Welches.

For more information regarding the Hoodland Community Park District visit www.2020parkvision.org. The HWC welcomes courteous public input both positive and negative by email at hoodlandparkdistrict@gmail.com, www.hoodlandwomensclub.org or www.2020parkvision.org.

By Benjamin Simpson/MT

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