Future bright but not certain for recreation facility in Tualatin

The Tualatin Tomorrow project shows residents are interested in having a multi-purpose center

TUALATIN - There's no funding, no plans and no affirmative head nod yet from city officials that anything's even being considered. But employees of the Tualatin Community Services Department are hopeful that a recreation facility is in the city's future - even if it's the distant future.

By the end of this fiscal year, the number of teen program hours offered to Tualatin youth is expected to have increased by 122 percent to about 600 hours. The number of contact hours for the program is projected to increase by 41 percent to roughly 12,200 hours.

But as Tualatin's teen program specialist Ryan Dinneen explained to the Tualatin City Council last week, the city's teen program is basically 'a recreation program without a designated recreation facility.'

With no municipal-run facility to turn to for activities, the teen program, which offers trips for skiing, rock climbing and whale watching, used about 28 percent of fee revenue in the last year to cover travel costs.

That's money that could have been used elsewhere in the teen programs or could have been cut from the overall costs associated with the teen activities, Dinneen said. But for now the cost is a necessary one, she said.

The city of Tualatin has no recreational facility building. The city does not have a YMCA or Boys and Girls Club to provide local youth activities. Dinneen said providing activities for teens often means hitting the road.

And right now renting buses or 15-passenger vans and paying for gas isn't that difficult to accommodate the manageable number of participants the program attracts, Dinneen said.

'But we will reach a point with growth that we will need (a recreation facility),' Dinneen said

Tualatin's parks and recreation coordinator Carl Switzer said there might be hope for a Tualatin recreation center.

Data gathered from the city's Tualatin Tomorrow visioning project shows that residents do have an interest in seeing a multi-purpose community center in Tualatin. The city's senior planner Elizabeth Stepp said that a drafting committee for the project has come up with one action item that calls for a multi-purpose center.

Switzer also noted that of the new seven goals the City Council is expected to adopt this year, one includes deciding whether or not the city should study alternatives for the creation of a community recreation center.

'There's no plans. There's no funding. But there is a desire for (a recreation center),' Switzer said.

A municipal-run recreation facility, according to Switzer and Dinneen, would be able to offer a diversity of classes or activities for residents of all ages and do so without worrying about making a profit.

Offering a variety of activities is what the city is continuing to do, Dinneen said adding that once the city's newly expanded library opens, 'we'll see a real boom in activities the city offers to teens.'

The newly expanded library will also provide Tualatin teens with their own teen room to be used for activities, classes and meetings.

'A teen room still won't be like a YMCA space, but it's a step in the right direction,' Dinneen said.