|Town hall highlights plan for Hoodland Park District posted on 03/01/2020|
The Hoodland Women’s Club hosted a town hall meeting on
Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Mt. Hood Oregon Resort to present plans for the
creation of a Hoodland park district to fund a new park in Welches. The meeting
was attended by approximately 50 people.
The women’s club intends to circulate a petition and gather
750 signatures, or fifteen percent of the 4,886 registered voters in the
proposed park tax district, to qualify the initiative to appear on the ballot
in November 2020.
Clackamas County Commissioners Jim Bernard, Ken Humberston
and Martha Schrader attended the town hall in support of the creation of the
“Your vision is to have children playing in a park. That’s
one of the most beautiful visions you can have as a citizen,” Schrader said
about the development of a community space at the site formerly occupied by the
Dorman Center across from Welches Schools.
The creation of a Hoodland Park District will allow
Clackamas County to gift the deeds of three parcels of land along Salmon River
Road, including the Dorman Center site and the current community garden space,
to the district for the formation of a park.
If the district is not passed on the November ballot the
land will be sold by the county for development.
“Now is the time to preserve and protect lands and assets in
your community,” Humberston said. He cited population growth in the county and
an increase in related development as factors that will limit the availability
of land for public spaces. “It’s not like you’ll get a second bite at the
apple. It’s beneficial to you and future generations.”
Park District Committee Co-Chair Marci Slater stated the new
district will be funded by a property tax of $0.54 per thousand dollars of
assessed property on homes located in the park district. This rate represents
an estimated annual assessment of $165 on a $300,000 home and will provide the
district with an estimated budget of $500,000 beginning in 2021.
“Your local tax dollars will stay local, and not be managed
by the county or state,” Slater said. “The district will provide the community
with a vehicle to form its own recreational spaces.”
Slater stated the majority of the funding for the park will
come from grants and low-interest loans the community will become eligible for
with the formation of the new district.
Park district committee member Bonnie Hayman emphasized the
value of the land promised by the county, citing the purchase of similar
acreage by the City of Bend for the development of a community park for $1
million. She stated the in-kind land donation would qualify the district for
grants it would not otherwise have access to.
“The tax base in the district is absolutely necessary to get
(the park) started. It is the heart but not the muscle that will drive the
project forward,” said park district committee member Cyndi Dyal about the role
grants and other sources of financing will have in funding the park.
Community members in attendance raised concerns about
parking, traffic, insurance costs and potential for drug and criminal activity
associated with the new park. Some questioned the need for an additional park
with existing assets such as Wildwood Recreation Site in the community. Others
voiced concern over what type of development would occur if the plots were sold
by the county.
Many in attendance voiced support for the proposed district
stating the benefits the infrastructure will bring to the community.
“You may not be using the park, but you’re still benefiting
as part of the community,” said Tamara Lundberg, a resident of Sandy who owns a
second home in the proposed district.
Park district committee member and legal counsel Gary
Linkous stated that from preliminary polling the committee had received enough
positive community response to move forward with attempting to get the
initiative on the ballot in 2020.
Linkous added that the county has been a great resource for
the formation of the district. “The county has basically told us, ‘If you want
us to help you, we’ll show you how to play in your community and we’ll give you
the land,’” he said.
Residents of the park district will also vote on candidates
for the Park District Board on the November ballot. The board will manage park
development projects, the district budget, apply for grant funds and determine
from community input the facilities available at the new park.
For more information about the park district, visit
www.2020parkvision.org and www.hoodlandwomensclub.org.
By Ben Simpson/MT