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Pool, athletic fields, walking trail in proposal for nine-acre property next to Veterans Park

Grabhorn ParkCity staff shared plans for a recent land acquisition at the Scappoose City Council's work session on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The plan separates work into three phases. In the first, the city would make improvements on the two roads bordering the park — Northwest E.J. Smith Road and Captain Roger Kurcera Way — and build overlapping soccer and softball fields. In the second phase, the city would add parking behind the existing building on the property and create a path leading into Veterans Park. The third and final phase would add a six-lane swimming pool.

3J Consulting, which the city hired to create the preliminary plans, estimated the first phase budget at $2.3 million. The second phase would cost just one-tenth of that, running close to $230,000. The final phase, for the pool, would cost close to $1 million, totaling $3.5 million for the full project.

Interim City Manager Alexandra Rains told city council that staff initially hoped to present multiple options for the property. CITY OF SCAPPOOSE; 3J CONSULTING - City staff shared plans for a recent land acquisition at the Scappoose City Council's Sept. 8 work session.

"But what we found as we worked through this process was that the site was far more constrained than we really initially understood in terms of the slope and floodway and floodplain," Rains said. "This was really the best concept that worked given those constraints."

The site is located along South Scappoose Creek, which complicates development.

Though a pool is included in the plans, councilors and staff expressed more skepticism about the inclusion of the pool than any of the other park amenities.

The proposed pool, which has long been in the works, would likely be an outdoor facility and only open seasonally.

"Due to the cost of maintaining a pool and operating a pool, the only thing that would be remotely feasible would be an outdoor seasonal pool, is my understanding, unless there were some sort of parks district created" to generate funds, City Planner Laurie Oliver said.

The Grabhorn property was purchased with $731,600 from the pool fund. The fund had just $8,585 remaining in July after the property sale.

City residents began fundraising to build a pool decades ago. In 2010, the city purchased property to build a pool, but ultimately sold the property in 2017 without any pool built.

Councilor Peter McHugh said he didn't believe the city could afford to build and operate a pool and should complete a feasibility study as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the first two development phases were completed.

"That either needs to be on or off the table as soon as possible. Nobody is against a pool, but a lot of times people don't want to pay for it," McHugh said, recalling past efforts to fund a pool.

There is currently a home on the property, which city staff intend to keep. It could potentially be used for city office space, but would need to be rezoned.

City council members also addressed the dog park currently in Veterans Park, which community members have said is too small and is often muddy.

Councilor Megan Greisen noted that councilors and staff agreed the park should be moved within Phase 1 of the Grabhorn construction.

"We don't know where it's going to go, but this is of importance and priority to make that happen in the initial stage," Greisen said.

Oliver said she was concerned that some members of the public may have thought the city council could vote to approve the parks plan at the Sept. 8 meeting.

"That is not the case at all. There will be lots more public process involved," Oliver clarified.

Park construction, like all development in the city, would also go to the planning commission for approval.

The city has also created a survey to gather community input on the plans. The survey is online here until Nov. 9.

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