Pamplin Media Group – Councilman: The future of parks in Milwaukie is in your hands

Desi Nicodemus: The city is better suited to complete the Milwaukie Bay park, rather than waiting for county funding.

I love walking and cycling with my wife and son. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while relaxing and exercising. Naturally, the city parks are one of our favorite destinations. My son plays on the playground and my partner and I take time to relax in the sun.

I’m proud of the role city parks play in our lives and, in my small part, helping to bring as much open space as possible to Milwaukie.

Milwaukie has its parks, as well as the Milwaukie Community Center. Since 1990, we have been part of a special district – North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD) – which manages our parks and provides recreation programs. In addition to serving Milwaukie, the NCPRD provides parks services to part of unincorporated Clackamas County and operates both the Milwaukie Aquatic Center and Community Center, though the latter is city-owned, and manages community sports leagues. (Happy Valley was in the district but successfully left in 2019.) The NCPRD is governed by the County Board of Commissioners, which makes all funding and planning decisions with the 54 cents per $1,000 of assessed value collected. from owners for NCPRD services.

While NCPRD staff did a tremendous job developing plans and securing funds for the Milwaukie Bay Park, the County Board of Commissioners was unwilling to finalize the contracts needed to build the park, resulting in resulted in costly delays.

As the delay in Milwaukie Bay Park has indicated, we are fighting for the NCPRD to take on this particular responsibility and build new parks in Milwaukie. Meanwhile, thanks to Senator Taylor and Rep. Power, the city is currently planning and building three parks without NCPRD involvement. With the city’s proven track record, we believe the City of Milwaukie is better suited to complete Milwaukie Bay Park, rather than waiting and hoping for county funding to arrive.

Recently, City Council directed staff to review what it would take for the city to exit the NCPRD, so that we can fulfill our commitment to the community to continue to provide top notch outdoor and recreation facilities. without the burden of answering, asking the advice of, or begging funds from our county commissioners.

We haven’t decided to leave yet, but we want to know what our options are.

Leaving the district would mean that money raised through the development of Milwaukie’s parks would be returned to Milwaukie’s hands. This would allow City Council and staff to be more responsive to the growing needs of the community and ensure that improvements are made, new amenities are developed and recreational opportunities increase.

If we continue to resume maintenance of our parks, I will not support the demand for an increase this year to what you currently pay, nor do I expect my peers on City Council to do so. . Any changes to this position in the future would be at the request of our community and only after a significant public process.

But, don’t let me be the last word. Come join the conversation and have your say at our next information session at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 10 at the Ledding Library, 10660 SE 21st Ave., Milwaukie.

Desi Nicodemus is a Milwaukie City Councilman.

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