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Center committees efforts spelled out

My name is Robert LeChevallier and I am a resident of the city of Lake Oswego. I also served on the steering committee that planned the proposed community center.

1. The Community Center Steering Committee met for over a year. We were charged with developing a plan for a community center for Lake Oswego.

2. We looked at other local community centers, recreational centers and libraries

3. We realized that our community does not have the amenities that are enjoyed by other communities in the area that have a lot less resources than our Lake Oswego. For example, our library is undersized both for the population and the readership. It is inadequate now and will be inadequate as our area population increases.

4. We held public workshops and hearings to determine what the community wanted.

5. We sent out a survey to all citizens in Lake Oswego.

6. We heard from various groups and constituencies in the city.

7. We published and solicited opinions on our Web site.

8. The plan has been well-thought out, debated and tested with our architects and consultants over an extended period of time.

9. The plan is sustainable in that it reuses and recycles an existing office structure for community needs.

It is unfortunate that at the same time the steering committee was planning the community center that the cost of the DEQ-mandated sewer interceptor continued to grow.

The fact that we are buying a new sewer line does not mean that our community does not need better recreational, library and meeting facilities.

1. We have an aging school district pool, and with Mountain Park pool closed, our community does not have adequate aquatic facilities.

2. Our parks and recreation department tells us that activity space and gymnasiums are at a premium. School district facilities are heavily used by that population and are not generally available for adults.

3. Our current facilities for seniors are primarily social services for the very old. Our 50+ dialogue told us that active seniors want to participate in intergenerational activities.

4. There is no place for our youth to go after school or socialize in the evenings.

5. Providing more opportunities for fitness will help reduce obesity, diabetes and other serious health concerns as our population ages.

The former Safeco Building offers the best opportunity to plan for the community and for the next 30 years.

1. There is no other place in our city that has 90,000 square feet and 14 acres available in the center of our population. It is located on a major arterial and is not in the middle of a residential neighborhood generating traffic.

2. If this opportunity is passed, we will spend a lot more in the future to acquire sites for these types of facilities.

3. The city can lease out or otherwise hold unneeded space until the community is ready to focus on the need for new facilities.

4. The building may be needed to temporary relocate city hall employees while the EFIS siding and seismic issues in the existing city hall are repaired.

5. There is a shortage of corporate meeting space on Kruse Way that could use part of the facility. Space can be rented for large group meetings, receptions, etc.

I would strongly urge the city council to adopt our steering committee's recommendation as a master plan for the site and to retain the property and buildings for future public use.

The site can be built out after the sewer interceptor is built and as funds become available.

Let us take the long-term perspective.

In two years our community will celebrate its 100th birthday. We should ask ourselves. What will we leave for our community to grow and prosper for the next 100 years?

Robert Le Chevallier is a resident of Lake Oswego and served on the Community Center Steering Committee.