Who will pay for waterfront park upkeep?


News staff writer

June 17, 2006

The design plans for a waterfront park have been drafted — but it is still unclear which agency will absorb the $30,000-$45,000 of annual maintenance costs.

On Monday, the Park Development Committee will ask the Hood River City Council and Hood River Port Commission to sign off on the final conceptual drawing. The special meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Expo Center off Portway Avenue.

The PDC presentation is expected to lead into a discussion about upkeep of the six acre parcel formerly known as Lot 6.

The port deeded the $1.7 million property along the Columbia River over to the city in February. Port officials believe that donation should fulfill the agency’s share of park expenses.

However, both the city and the Hood River County Parks and Recreation District are facing budget constraints. The two service providers have registered objections about taking on extra costs at this time.

Christine Knowles, PDC co-chair, is optimistic that, with a little creativity, a fiscal solution can be found. She said there is plenty of time to work on the challenge since it will likely be three to four years before construction of the park is completed.

“If we can find a couple thousand here and a couple thousand there we can get this done,” she said.

According to Knowles, without a maintenance plan in place, it will be more difficult for Hood River to stay in the loop for grant dollars.

Bob Francis, city manager, traveled to Salem this week to convince Oregon Parks and Recreation Department officials that the local project should quality for $500,000 of initial funding.

Knowles believes the park proposal, which didn’t make the final cut for state monies in 2005, stands a better chance this year. She said with the deed firmly in hand, the city is now in a good position to show community cooperation, meeting one of the key criteria.

Plus, she said the united effort is also demonstrated with the $22,000 donated by the county parks district to hire GreenWorks, Inc. The Portland-based consulting team created the proposed conceptual drawing after interviewing government leaders and interested citizens.

In addition, Knowles said the Waterfront Community Park Association and the city have netted about $232,200 in cash and in-kind contributions.

She said once all of the maintenance details have been nailed down, Hood River will have all the components in place to seek out additional revenue streams.

“We just need everyone to say ‘We can do this’ and then we’ll figure it out.” said Knowles.

Although the goal is to develop a $3-$4 million “world-class” park that includes an inset beach, she said the work can be done in phases as money permits.

The PDC also envisions that maintenance costs can be lowered by utilizing the services of the Community Justice Department work crew and volunteer groups. And possibly metering parking in the area and charging user fees for weddings and other events that take place at the site.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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