June 19, 2007

Parks survey shows desire for trails, open space

Trails like this canal-side section near The Greens are on the wish list for Remond parks
photo by Leslie Pugmire Hole

Redmond residents want more trails and walking paths, natural areas, places for outdoor events and picnic places.At least that's according to 326 residents who recently filled out parks surveys.

An additional 66 surveys received online have not been tabulated, city parks supervisor Jeff Powers told the Redmond Parks Commission Monday evening.Trails were the most asked for facility with 186 votes, followed by natural areas, 130; places for outdoor events, 111; and picnic shelters/tables, 107. In contrast, only two people wanted an ice rink, and tennis courts garnered only five votes.

The survey will be used to tweak the draft of the parks and trails component of the city facilities plan that that is in the process of being updated. Projects identified in the facilities plan will be added to the city's Capital Improvement Plan, which will be used to calculate new System Development Charges. The park plan looks at what additional park facilities will be needed to serve a population of 58,000 in the year 2030.

Consultants from David Evans & Associates and a committee of local residents have been at working on the master plan for city parks facilities. The plan includes new parks both within the 2,300-acre Urban Growth Boundary expansion and inside current city limits, and includes three elements - neighborhood parks, community parks, and, new this time, trails.

To serve the population projected in the future, DEA estimates that Redmond will need six new neighborhood parks, at an estimated cost of $1.5 million each, and will need to acquire and develop and additional 124 acres of community parks at an estimated cost of $9.3 million. The plan proposed 11 more miles of trails and 34 more baseball and softball fields.

The total cost for all parks facilities identified in the plan for the next 23 years is more than $60 million with $44.7 eligible for funding through SDCs, fees paid by new construction to help the city pay for growth of water, sewer, street and parks facilities.With the need to raise $44.7 million through SDCs, the parks fee would rise from $824 to about $3,200.

That's a big jump, but other communities charge more, said David Olsen of DEA. Bend's parks SDC is $3,340, while Canby's is $4,700.Commission member Gary Parks noted that land costs have increased 1,000 percent since the last time the city's park facilities plan and Capital Improvement Plan were updated.

The city will consider the proposed parks plan along with updated facilities plans for the city's transportation, water and wastewater systems later this year. The Parks Commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on the parks and trails portion at its next meeting on July 11.

"It's a good solid plan; it's not gold-plated," Parks said.In other business, the Parks Commission learned that construction on American Legion Park in the canyon south of Highland Avenue should begin next month. The project bid advertisement is scheduled to run this weekend, Powers said.

Over the next 90 days after the bid is awarded, contractors will do earthwork, install irrigation and begin planting of grass and landscaping. The park will be ready for use next spring.Depending on the results of fund-raising, the Rotary Club will either begin its construction on the stage planned for the park this fall or next spring, he added.

story by Trish Pinkerton

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