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Park district leader enthused about park, fields partnership with school district


Doug Menke, general manager of the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, took a moment on Tuesday to elaborate on the district's recently announced collaboration with the Beaverton School District on a comprehensive athletic fields and community park plan adjacent to Mountain View Middle School in Aloha. Here are his responses to questions from the Beaverton Valley Times.

What was the impetus behind the collaboration? Was it a park district priority that the school district helped bring to fruition?

Menke: In information provided to voters before the 2008 bond measure election, we said if the measure passed, we would develop a community park in the southwest quadrant of the district. The community park would include a multifield/multipurpose synthetic surface with lights and a youth athletic field. The partnership with the school district at Mountain View will enable us to make the most efficient use of public assets. By sharing land, parking lots and core amenities, we save money for taxpayers long term.

When did the process start? How long did it take to iron out the details?

Menke: In 2010, we became aware of the availability of land behind Mountain View Middle School that might work for us as a park site. Because this land was adjacent to the school play field, we began talking with BSD staff about the possibility of a shared-use arrangement. Those talks culminated in the agreement we publicly announced last week.

How unique is this type of collaboration between THPRD and BSD?

Menke: This partnership represents a first in a long history of collaboration between the two agencies. Part of one of our parks will be located on school district property. We have a similar partnership at PCC Rock Creek, operating a sports complex on land that is owned by the college. Although this new arrangement with the Beaverton School District is unusual, we’re excited by the benefits it will bring to both of our agencies and, more importantly, to the public.

What amenities and features will make this park a community centerpiece? 

Menke: This proposed community park will provide not only vastly improved athletic fields but more of them to meet demand in the Aloha area. According to the conceptual design, the park will also offer play equipment, tennis courts, picnic areas and a perimeter trail. In addition, we are proposing a Champions Too Field that can be used by both special-needs athletes and others in the community; it will be built if private funding can be secured.

Are there other plans for the two entities to combine resources to create community parks?

Menke: We are exploring other opportunities with the school district for shared use of facilities. Those discussions will continue.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about this project or the district's presence in Aloha?

Menke: Our Aloha residents have needed a community park for a long time. A good deal of work lies ahead of us, but when this park is done, it will be exceptional, and we’re excited about it. It will improve quality of life for everyone in the Aloha area. We want to thank our partners at the Beaverton School District for helping to make this vision possible.