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Some Luscher issues near clarifying

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The city of Lake Oswego is updating the master plan for Luscher Farm, which has generated much community interest. This effort will define the future vision for 146 acres of park property in the Stafford area, all purchased over 20 years and funded by three citizen- approved bond measures.

In 1997 the city council adopted the Luscher Farm Master Plan, which includes five soccer fields, six baseball fields, tennis courts; natural area restoration, trails, picnicking; and a historic component featuring a mid-century dairy farm, and to protect and enhance the farm buildings for public use and events. Since the plan was adopted, 82 acres of park property have been acquired. It is time to update the plan and decide how these properties should be used.

The following questions and misunderstandings have arisen and should be clarified:

Luscher Farm was donated to the city by the Luscher family

Luscher Farm was purchased in 1991. The sale agreement stipulates the property is to be used for 'agricultural, park and recreation purposes'.

Why is public input being discouraged on this topic?

Extensive public outreach has been under way since August 2010. More than 1,400 people have provided input at various stages during the process.

The historical farm deserves to be saved intact.

22.15 acres of the farm are listed on Clackamas County's Historic Landmark designation list. This portion of the farm will continue to be protected in the new plan.

Moving farming to an alternate site is not viable due to slope, wetness and other problems

The city is in the process of getting an updated opinion about the types of farming activities that are suitable in the revised master plan.

Other options for sports fields have not been seriously explored. School closures may open up other opportunities for fields.

School fields are used for youth and adult sports today and will be relied upon when schools are closed. A 2001 field study indicated a need for five new soccer fields. Since then, two fields have been built. Youth lacrosse was not offered in 2001. Today nearly 700 youth play lacrosse. The city is updating the study and continuing to look for field options.

The plan is too costly.

Cost estimates have not been developed and will occur later in the process. In addition, this is a 15+ year plan intended to define how development will occur in the future. There are no immediate plans for taxpayer funding.

Why has this primarily gone through the Parks and Recreation Board and has not included input from other boards such as Natural Resources Board, Sustainability Board, Historical Board?

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board advises the council on planning, acquisition, and development of public park lands. Other city advisory boards have been invited to provide input and participate in public meetings. Advisory boards will offer additional input this summer prior to bringing the draft plan to the city council later this fall.

For more information on the planning process go to www.ci.oswego.or.us/parksrec/LAMP.htm.

Kim Gilmer is the Parks and Recreation Director for the city of Lake Oswego.