When I walk through the parks of Tualatin, I feel at home. I am grateful for our beautiful green spaces. I love seeing kids enjoy outdoor recreation and my two dogs appreciate dedicated areas where they can run off-leash.
When visiting the parks, you may also notice there are many assets which need to be replaced or repaired. The Parks and Recreation Department took inventory of our assets and rated them between 1 and 5. Assets rated 1 are new and do not need to be replaced or repaired, while assets rated 5 are in dire need of being replaced or repaired. The assets rated 4 and 5 are at risk of being closed to public use due to safety concerns if they are not addressed soon. The replacement or repair costs required for park assets rated 4 and 5 add up to approximately $14.7 million.
On April 26, the Tualatin City Council passed a $5 park utility fee. Other cities in Oregon have set similar fees at comparable rates. Tigard, for example, has a park utility fee set at $5.91. This fee will be added to the resident’s utility bill and paid monthly. The money generated by this will go towards keeping our parks open and safe for all who visit. While this fee will not cover all the repairs currently needed, it will help move us in the right direction. Examples of projects that could be repaired by money from the new fee include, sport court resurfacing, Americans with Disabilities Act improvements that deal with accessibility, and playground renovations at multiple parks around the city.
Since I moved to Tualatin in 2008, I have witnessed our parks serve our community well. Over the past year, as we have endured the struggles of the pandemic, our parks became an even greater asset to our community. During these difficult times, the parks have provided a space where we could walk, ride, and play without fear. I strongly believe beautiful, well cared for parks create engaged communities and increase the quality of life so people can thrive.
Speaking of the pandemic, we are not out of the woods yet. I encourage our community to continue following guidelines set forth by the State. Wear your mask when it is appropriate and get vaccinated if you are able to. We are in the home stretch. We will get through this together!