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There's a push to keep most of the park as green space and not add splash pad or pickle ball courts

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Some residents of Campanella Park Estates chat in Campanella Park about the fate of their 8 acre green space.

The proposed development of Campanella Park has stirred up controversy among some residents of the 275-home subdivision surrounding the park, with some particularly objecting to a suggested splash pad and pickleball court.

The park already features a playground designed for little kids, a covered picnic area and walkways. But most of the 8 acres has not yet been developed and is a natural area or mowed grass.

Some residents of Campanella Estates have expressed worries that the development of the park will cause issues such as increased traffic and crime, safety and privacy concerns and unwanted noise.

Homes come right up against the park all around it and those residents with homes directly abutting the park are especially concerned.

"Don't parks & wreck our green space," say signs in some residents yards.

"Who wants a parking lot in their back yard?" said Kristy Blair, who lives in a home that is adjacent to proposed parking.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Homeowners stand in an area that has been proposed to be a parking lot. The grey home on the right belongs to Cheryl Nyseth, wearing the red flowered blouse, who doesnt like the idea of a parking lot there.

Other possible features proposed for the park include additional walkways and trials including fitness stations with suggested exercises. A nature play structure for kids, a fenced off-leash dog area and sports courts have also been discussed.

Some residents don't want any more development in the park, but one woman walking her dog on a recent sunny morning said another playground or other feature might be OK, "but we don't need this to be Disneyland," she said.

COURTESY OF GOOGLE MAPS - Campanella Park is the green area between the densely packed homes in the center of the map. It is bisected by Broadway Street.

At a recent city council meeting, Cheryl Nyseth extolled the virtues of the park as it is, and urged councilors to publicize the quiet beauty of the green space and the animals that call it home.

The "park is used by the community, the city of Estacada," she said.

Kristy Blair spoke out against the splash pad and pickleball court at the meeting.

"To what extent are you going to interfere with our lives and our rights for peace, to make this huge park when there are other places," she said, to add pickleball courts or a splash pad.

Blair, calling pickleball "a very loud sport" asked councilors "would you want a loud sport being played in your backyard?"

Another resident, Pat Michaud, said she paid a premium for her home to live on a green space and felt the city was not paying attention to residents' objections. Homeowners paid between $20,000 and $30,000 extra to live on the greenbelt, homeowners said, although they said that was not the city's fault.

"It's not fair," Michaud said.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Tuff is out for his morning walk in Campanella Park.

The park at 1560 N. Broadway St., formally called Fred Campanella Memorial City Park, opened in 2018. City plans had called for the park to eventually be developed. And, Estacada residents have long said they wanted a splash pad, although no specific site was named.

Looking for input on a proposed development plan for Campanella Park, the city sent questionnaires to all the homes in the subdivision in August and received 106 responses from 88 addresses, said City Manager Melanie Wagner.

In a July letter to the Estacada City Council, Brent Dodrill, chairman of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission said the proposed development of the park has prompted "some significant 'push back' from some of the residents that reside within Campanella Estates."

In the letter, he explained that "some unfortunate and possibly misleading information was given to these residents when they purchased lots around the future park area" leading them to believe the park would remain largely a natural area.

The commission is considering resident input, altering the park plans and discussing multiple different options for the park.

Dodrill noted in the July letter that the proposed splash pad could be moved to another area of the park from the original proposal "to make [it] less of an impact on the neighborhood" and that other changes could be made including adding more parking to the planned project.

Some people think the splash pad would be better sited at Wade Creek Park.

Dodrill told the Estacada News that he's asked city staff for more information on various alternatives, such as whether it's feasible for a splash pad to be put in Wade Creek Park.

At the city council meeting, Councilor Joel Litke said "there's plenty of room in Wade Creek Park for a splash pad."

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - The little-used horseshoe pit at busy Wade Creek Park has been mentioned as a possible site for a splash pad. But it is not known if it is feasible to put one there or anywhere in Wade Creek Park.

Litke said "the simple solution" to the controversy over the splash pad and pickleball court "is to not have them there" (in Campanella Park).

City staff is going over the responses from the residents' questionnaires and working with the consultant that helped design preliminary proposals for the park.

The Parks and Recreation Commission must make a recommendation to the city council before any final decision on Campanella Park development can be made. Parks and Rec next meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.

"There's not a rush," to make a recommendation, Dodrill said.

"We want to make a good decision for people, not just in Campanella Park Estates, but for the community as a whole," Dodrill said.

Dodrill said he's glad the city reached out to the nearby residents with the survey, adding, "I feel for those people. We're hearing you. We're responding. … Let's think this through."

And, Mayor Sean Drinkwine assured everyone at the recent city council meeting "We'll come back with a plan that works for everyone. We promise."

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