Letters to the Editor
We don't need sports complext at Juniper Hills
I read with interest the recent article regarding "Huge Sports Complex at Park." The article left me with more questions than answers. I'm sure Mr. Weyermann is sincere and well-meaning. He makes statements like, "All our kids are driving to the batting cages, indoor soccer facilities, basketball and volleyball." I have no doubt that there are some kids doing this, but when compared to the total youth population of Madras, I assume it's a pretty small percentage.
So who is this really benefitting? Juniper Hills Park has a very rural feel to it. There are two high-quality soccer fields, well-maintained baseball and softball diamonds, disc golf and a walking path that gets a lot of use. My wife and I enjoy walking around the park. It is a very relaxing place.
Here are my questions. Do the majority of Madras and Jefferson County residents want a major sports complex which will bring in huge amounts of traffic, requiring massive parking lots and forever change the rural quality of Juniper Hills Park?
Do citizens have any say in this matter? It is after all our county park. With the proposed skating rink and the 125,000-square-foot main building, this complex will take up almost 150,000 square feet, not to mention new expanded parking areas. This would require transferring 16 acres away from the county park.
Mr. Weyermann said, "The long-term goal is to generate enough revenue to provide SOME free recreational activities for kids that live in Madras." That suggests that at least for starters, kids in Madras that can afford to pay will gain access to some of the facilities, and what that means is unclear, while those who are less fortunate will not be able to use the facility.
Mr. Weyermann also states that there would be no additional taxpayer money needed. Will there be increased maintenance required on B Street due to increased traffic? Will an increase in sewage result in more expenses for the existing sewer facility and will those expenses be funded by tax increases or increased sewer fees? What if the facility does not generate enough money to be self-sustaining? Will the taxpayers be asked to make up the difference? Have traffic issues been fully vetted?
Mr. Weyermann also states that this facility will "put Madras on the map." My wife and I enjoy the small-town feel of Madras. We have serious doubts about turning Juniper Hills Park into an industrial scale sports complex.
Apparently, the County Board of Commissioners approved the outline of an agreement for this proposal on Dec. 12. There will be a followup meeting on Jan. 9. If there are other people who have questions related to this proposal, this would be your chance to attend and hopefully, get some questions answered.
Madras Kiwanis would like thank our entire community for making this years' Operation Rudolph a resounding success! A special thanks to several groups who came out in force to wrap gifts, especially the Mud Springs Livestock 4-H and the Rabbits, Cavies and Poultry Oh My! 4-H group. The Madras High School Key Club, the Girls Varsity Basketball Team, All Student Body Leadership and Skills USA all helped wrapped, brought gifts to wrap and were fantastic!
A huge thanks to Nyla Delamarter, who came for most wrapping sessions to help wrap, but especially teach people how to wrap (think basketballs, dolls and stuffed animals). Nyla and Vic also showed up with presents to wrap!
Kiwanians Mike Ahern and Joe Krenowicz, and Michael Krenowicz (thanks for the big truck Michael) worked with Kristi Fisher to partner with Toys4Tots and bring their gifts to our community. And all the Kiwanis members who delivered gifts throughout the Christmas Season a big thank you!
Our local businesses were tremendous in gathering the donated gifts of our community. There are too many to name, but I will say Mid Oregon Credit Union, Les Schwab Tire Center and Daimler kept me busy with multiple runs to pick up their full donation boxes. Madras High School, Payne West and St. Charles Madras boxes were filled with gifts for local teens which tend to be the most difficult to find gifts for.
Thanks to Deer Ridge Correctional Institution, specifically Janet Narum, education director, and Kristi Fisher, and their crew of inmates who wrapped for almost 100 youths in our community.
Kristi Fisher worked with our local DHS (Elizabeth — volunteer program specialist for DHS Volunteer Services) to get all the paperwork in order and get the gifts most needed from Toys4Tots. Kristi worked hand in hand with Deer Ridge and she and Janet also organized the final bagging and delivery of our community gifts for our community youth!
Whew! Thanks everyone for making a difference! Over and over I saw people making life better for each other this Christmas, making a difference. The generosity of our community is incredible.
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