In last night’s election, Happy Valley residents voted to pass Measure 3-526, a five-year parks and recreation levy. While the final results are still being tallied, approval for the measure is currently close to 72%.
This is exciting news for the community. The funds collected from the levy will be earmarked for park operations and maintenance, as well as recreational programming. While the tax rate will remain the same as what Happy Valley residents were paying to North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District (NCPRD), all of the funds will be spent here, in our community, on services citizens have determined are priorities.
None of this would be possible without the dedication and support of Happy Valley’s Parks Advisory Committee and City Council. Over the last year, they have attended many meetings and public engagement events, and had numerous conversations with residents about what park services the public values most. Through these efforts, the Parks Master Plan was developed and will serve as our guide to delivering park services. Our thanks go out to the committee members for their efforts up to this point and their future work as they help guide the development of parks and recreation services in the city. To say that their role as a community volunteer just increased is a massive understatement and we are so grateful for their dedication.
We know that the community is eager to learn what park services and programs will be offered in the future. Being active and involved is a huge part of our community’s culture and we understand the desire for more opportunities close to home. Now that funding for maintenance and recreational programming has been secured for the next five years, we can implement some of the plans we have been working on. We will share news about upcoming opportunities very soon.
In addition to developing recreation programs, one of the first steps that we will undertake in coming months is conducting a feasibility study for a community center. This is a large project, and honestly, one that will require years of planning to see to fruition, but this is a top citizen priority that merits a thorough assessment. The feasibility study will allow the City to collect input from residents on where the community center could be located, what amenities should be included, and how it could be funded.
Building a community center, additional turf fields, another community park, more neighborhood parks, additional trails, and other park amenities will take significant resources beyond what the levy will provide. They will take a bond that would be voted on by residents or through System Development Charges (SDCs) collected from new construction.
As many residents know, the City is currently in litigation with NCPRD regarding SDCs that were collected by Happy Valley and transferred to NCPRD for a specific list of Capital Projects in the community. The City continues to be hopeful that there will be a positive resolution to the litigation and that the money will be returned to the City so that we may use it as it was intended.
The passing of the levy is another step forward, but there is more work ahead. There are decisions still to be made (so please continue to be involved!), but there are many things we know for sure. First, we live in a beautiful area and our parks and recreation service is going to help us all enjoy our natural areas even more. Second, we have many partners who are eager to offer their services in the area. And finally, this is going to be a parks and rec system for all of us.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. We look forward to providing parks and recreation service that will bring individuals together in the name of health, personal growth, and community.