Public comment sought for final version of plan

The Lake Oswego Parks Plan 2025 will be ready for the Lake Oswego City Council next month, but city staff is still making a strong effort to obtain public input.

The public draft of the plan is now available online at Citizens are urged to read the draft and provide written comments any time between now and July 3.

Another opportunity for public comment will be offered on Wednesday, June 27, at the West End Building (4101 Kruse Way) in the Willamette room at 6 p.m., when a joint meeting of the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and the Natural Resources Advisory Board will be held.

This last big push for public feedback is in line with objectives set out by the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department at the beginning of the project.

'We want people to know what has been going on, and we want lots and lots of public input,' said Kim Gilmer, director of the department. 'In all of the hearings and surveys we've done so far, there have been 1,800 people who have participated, so it is pretty well vetted.'

by: VERN UYETAKE - Nick Chambers, 11, works on his batting swing, Tuesday at Westlake Park, in preparation for the upcoming little league all-stars series.

Gilmer noted that the city had been largely successful in achieving what the public wanted in the previous parks plan, which was acquiring land and building parks. She said that opinion gathering for the next parks plan reveals a new set of public priorities:

• Investing in and maintaining park areas;

• Enhancing stewardship in maintenance and operations;

• Providing options for recreation - exercise, sports, play areas for children, nature appreciation; and

• Filling geographic gaps to meet the city's goal of having a park within a half mile of every home.

by: KIM STOTT - The Lake Oswego Swim Park is one of the Parks & Recreation Departments popular offerings.The public draft reports that $9.1 million will be needed to accomplish every single item. Concern has been raised about where the money will come from to implement these goals. Gilmer said the plan accounts for this too.

'Some really worry about spending 'X' amount of dollars,' Gilmer said. 'The new plan is flexible. We don't have to spend money. If we don't have the money, we don't have to do it.'

Potential sources of revenue include the general fund, grants, capital bonds, park stewardship fees, special funds and parks SDC funds.

Priorities revealed in surveys so far include the desire for nature trails, nature education, sports fields and gardening areas.

'When we have opportunities to upgrade, we will look at the priorities coming out of the plan,' Gilmer said.

More youth sports fields are avidly sought by parents for their children. The plan offers another way of meeting this desire.

'In the past, money for youth sports fields has been raised through bond measures,' Gilmer said. 'Now we will be looking more to maximize the space we already have by installing artificial turf or getting private funds. The city has many capital needs, so it is hard to make sports fields a priority.'

While the city works to complete the new parks plan, it is also working on a specific site plan for the Luscher Farm area, which has also been a topic of high public interest.