Letter writer Dave Dyk sees an opportunity involving the now shuttered West Gresham Elementary School.

Many respondents to the Gresham-Barlow School District survey — "District seeks input for vacant elementary building," published online Jan. 19, seeking input from the community on future uses of the vacant West Gresham Elementary School Building — have highlighted the need and opportunity for the property to be re-developed as a community center.

Despite the obvious need, there is no community center in East County because the systemic financial challenges facing the City of Gresham have resulted in only de minimis investments in parks and recreation for many years.

Our residents do need parks and recreation services.

We do have an opportunity to prioritize an investment in parks and recreation. The city of Gresham recently convened a Parks and Recreation community advisory group. That group could push the City Council and administration to be proactive in the steps needed to establish a parks and recreation district. Those steps include completing a feasibility study and making a referral to voters for formation of the parks district.

The community demand for recreation services, coupled with the unique opportunity brought by the surplus of West Gresham Elementary, should serve as a catalyst for the City of Gresham to complete a parks and recreation district feasibility study quickly.

Dave Dyk


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