Collaboration on local projects proven to work
It is hard to remember a time in Prineville's recent history where so many new things awaited the community in such a short period of time.
The Great Recession, which hammered the community and left many without jobs and local leaders wondering where to apply the scalpel to public services, is not forgotten, but seems to be shrinking into the rear view mirror more and more by the day.
Prineville has since gained a new hospital and a new elementary school as well as a new wetland park in the years since, and this spring and summer promises to bring even more amenities to the once-struggling community.
The long-awaited Crook County Jail is nearing completion — the scheduled end-date for construction is April 30 — and after a two-month training session, the facility is expected to open in July.
Meanwhile, across the downtown core, construction of a splash pad continues with plans to open in time for the start of the hot summer days after the school year concludes. This is one of a couple recreational improvements coming to Prineville this year. The other is an upgraded skate park that will be doubled in size and converted to concrete ramps and features rather than metal ones. That project will likely kick off next month and conclude later this summer.
What is noteworthy about all of these improvements, besides the fact that they are all happening in such a small window of time and enhance the community, is that they are made possible by multiple groups working together toward a single bottom line.
The jail project was significantly aided by the work of a citizen committee that dove deep into the incarceration needs of Crook County and developed a recommendation that would not only meet those needs but be palatable for taxpayers to fund.
The splash pad is primarily spearheaded by the Kiwanis Club of Prineville, but without the donated money and work of multiple local agencies, businesses and individuals, it would have remained a hoped-for project instead of the attraction that is nearing completion in Old Stryker Park.
And while much of the skate park is grant and parks district funded, it too is the beneficiary of generous donors and was created with the input of several dozen local youth who chose to get involved.
Wayne Looney, a Kiwanian who has taken the lead on the splash pad project, has said many times now that projects have the best chance of success when multiple groups and individuals collaborate to reach a common goal. These projects have proven him right.
It's cliché, but when people work as a team, they can accomplish great things. And as people await the addition of other long-awaited amenities such as a new playground, a new pool and more, they should take a page from these success stories. Who knows, maybe they will create some more success stories down the road.