Lake Oswego councilors approve first three park bond projects
The Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department has its marching orders for the first phase of bond spending.
During a study session Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Lake Oswego City Council agreed to fund three projects for a total of $4,950,000, leaving just over $25 million left to spend in the $30 million parks bond that was approved by voters this past May.
The three projects that will be funded immediately are renovations at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center ($2.7 million), a Tennis Center renovation ($500,000) and replacements/renovations at various existing park facilities ($1,750,000).
Other projects that have been identified as priorities for bond spending — including a new community pool, a recreation center, athletic fields, land and trail acquisition, and investments in Luscher Farm — will not move forward until the City has gathered more information and had further discussions.
The council agreed that the community pool, in particular, could not be funded until more information was available about both the location and the cost. Locking down a location for the new pool has been difficult for the Lake Oswego School District and the City, which are both hoping to mitigate the effects of a pool building's footprint cutting into already dwindling athletic field space.
The school district has about $7 million of its own bond funding allocated for the pool, and has reached out to the City in the hopes of making it a joint community investment. The current eight-lane, 25-yard pool at Lake Oswego High School — which is shared by the district and City — is nearly 50 years old and considered beyond repair.
According to LO Parks & Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm, the school district hopes to have a pool location determined by November and to arrive at cost estimates by March 2020. On Tuesday, he told the council that the district is now considering four potential locations: Lakeridge Middle School, Lake Oswego High School (on a practice field on the east side of the property), the Lake Oswego Public Golf Course and the Rassekh property (which is located just west of Luscher Farm).
A pool at the Rassekh property would complicate matters for the City, given that it has its own plans to build several new sports fields on that land.
"I think that you can only do (the first three projects for $4,950,000) because you just don't know enough about the other things that will be studied and will make a big difference," City Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff said. "The ad hoc committee between the school district and city council with managers and other staff are going to continue to flush out information."
"We need better numbers for the recreation center and the pool," City Councilor John LaMotte said.
Council appoints DEI Task Force members
As part of its consent agenda Tuesday, the City Council also voted unanimously to approve the appointments of 11 citizens to the City's new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Those members are: Emma Burke, Hazel Chu Lant, Olga Dal, Bill de la Cruz, Diane Grover, Erica Holser, Massene Mboup, Daniel McArdle-Jaimes, Gary Rebello, Anil Shah and Mandrill Taylor.
Councilor Theresa Kohlhoff was appointed by Mayor Kent Studebaker to be the council liaison to the task force.
The council created the task force in early 2019 with hopes to open the door for more community members — especially those of underrepresented groups such as people of color, women, young adults age 18-25, religious minorities, those differently abled and the LGBTQ community — to participate in local government. The effort also aims to bring in a more diverse applicant pool for job openings throughout City departments such as planning, parks & recreation, police and fire.
The task force is expected to meet once a month for six months.
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