A New Legacy Park for Hood River? Frequently Asked Questions:
Where is the proposed new park?
The property is a twenty-acre parcel at the northwest corner of Fairview Drive and Belmont Drive, catty corner to Westside Elementary School. The property is mostly flat, with spectacular views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood. It is adjacent to the City of Hood River’s fastest growing neighborhoods and the Urban Growth Area. Part of the site is already in recreational use—you might have walked on the Westside Trail which runs along the east and north edges of the property.
Why is this a good location?
The City of Hood River is slated to grow by 4,500 people in the next twenty years, most of that growth will be on the west side of town, within easy walking distance of the new park. It makes sense to develop parks near where people live and where growth is occurring. Parks have a vital role in making our urban areas more vibrant and livable. They are social places where people connect with each other in morning playground sessions, pick up games after school and weekend strolls.
We need a park close to our neighborhoods that people can safely reach by foot, bike or a short drive. There are greater health benefits—and they get used more! —when parks are located near where people live. A close-to-home park offers kids independent access to recreational facilities rather than needing to rely on an adult to drive them. The park’s proximity to Westside School will allow Hood River to host tournaments and be a fun place for kids and their families to go after school.
At twenty-acres, this property will be much more than a neighborhood park; it will be a gathering place for the whole community. The park will draw people from all over the valley to use its sports fields, picnic shelters and walking trails.
We live in a recreational paradise. Do we really need another park?
Hood River is famous for natural resource based recreation like windsurfing, kiting, hiking and mountain biking but finding space for organized sports and multi-use parks has proved extremely challenging. For the last 20 years, County residents have expressed a desire for a year round multi-use community park with sports fields and courts, picnics shelters, a dog park, trails, community gardens etc.
I’ve seen a site plan. Is that plan a done deal in terms of design?
No, it is only a mock site plan – just a starting point for a community conversation about the kind of facilities we want and need. The final plan should be born out of a public process so you, the community, decides! The planning process is just beginning and will include a survey, focus groups, and interviews with community members.
Who will develop and manage the new park?
The Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District will develop and manage the new park. Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District is a special district created in 1988 with a mission to provide recreational opportunities to the citizens of the Park District with a focus on the youth of our community. Current District facilities include the Hood River Aquatic Center, Culbertson Park, Barrett Flyer Field, Odell Community Park, Hazelview Park, Rotary Skatepark, Hood River Disc Golf Course, and two popular trails—Indian Creek Trail and Westside Community Trail—that comprise over 5 miles of trails through the City of Hood River and its environs. The District boundaries include the County of Hood River, excluding Cascade Locks.
What are the next steps to making this park a reality?
The Parks District and Hood River Valley Residents Committee are working together to plan, permit and purchase the property. One of the first steps will be coming up with a concept plan for the park. This will be a very community-driven process with lots of opportunities for input from stakeholders, neighbors and community members. We are delighted to announce that Portland State University’s Masters of Urban and Regional Planning has chosen our park for a planning workshop project. A team of six graduate students–Agora Planning Team– will conduct a six-month long public outreach and park design process culminating with a development plan for the new park.
I have some ideas for the park. How can I let the right people know what I think
- Come to a Public Meeting. There are public events scheduled for Saturday March 5 from 9-2 and Saturday April 16 from 10-12.
- Get on the Email List. To keep up to date on the planning schedule or to share your thoughts, get on the email list by emailing Heather Staten, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact the Parks District directly, attention Lori Stirn, Parks District Director, email@example.com
There are cows on this property. Is this zoned farmland?
No, it was rezoned a number of years ago to RR-10 (Rural Residential minimum 10 acre lot size) which means that one house could be built on each 10 acre parcel. A community park is an allowed use on RR-10.
Is this land in the National Scenic Area? Are community parks allowed?
Yes, community parks are allowed subject to meeting the standards of the General Management Area of the NSA including natural resource, cultural resource and sensitive wildlife reviews. The Parks District already has experience going through a NSA review. They went through the exact same process to get land-use approval for the Westside Trail.
Some people say a nearby park will have negative effect on their property values. Is this true?
No, it’s quite the opposite. Parks have been shown to increase nearby property values. According to the National Parks and Recreation Association, “the real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a larger amount for property located close to a park than for a house that doesn’t offer this amenity.” Studies show a 20% property value increase for properties abutting or adjacent to a park and a 10% increase for properties several blocks away. For more information visit http://www.actrees.org/files/Research/parks_on_property_values.pdf
How does the Parks District pay for parkland and park development?
Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District is Hood River’s only government agency with a dedicated source of funding for park development. With each new house built in the district, the Parks District collects a System Development Charge of about $3,000 to create new recreation facilities. About 85% of the Parks District’s $900,000 SDC fund balance is money collected from development within the city limits. It makes sense that those SDCs would fund a park that would benefit city residents. The Parks District also has a strong track record of successful grant funding though the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation. A park of this size and scale will require support from our community in the form of in-kind donations, volunteer labor and sponsorships. The hugely successful Waterfront Community Park also relied on a high degree of community support for its development.
How will park maintenance be paid for once it’s built?
Like most other local government entities, the Parks District collects property taxes to fund
operations and maintenance. The District may also consider charging user fees for some of the park facilities.
How can I help encourage the development of this park?
Find a way to make your voice heard. Join HRVRC and find a volunteer role in bringing the park to reality. Get on our mailing list by contacting Heather Staten, firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out about the planning schedule by going to our Facebook page for upcoming activities, or check out what the community has said so far. Write a letter to the Hood River News editorial board.
This is our future. Together we can create a beautiful park that is a legacy for our children and their children.