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Fairview seeks 3-city recreation program

A Fairview city councilor is asking Troutdale and Wood Village to join his city in starting a recreational program covering the three cities.

While Troutdale has a bustling and successful recreation program, Fairview and Wood Village have nothing.

With help from the three mayors and Troutdale Councilor Larry Morgan, Fairview Councilor Brian Cooper is approaching the other cities to discuss a three-city cooperative. The goal is to have something up and running by the summer of 2017.

“We’re just trying to get the city councils to agree, pooling our resources and working toward the goal that getting kids engaged is good and we should move forward with it,” Cooper said.

Cooper believes a program will have community benefits, especially youth.

Juvenile crime, for example, is an increasing problem and recreation programs can help reduce that by giving kids something to do. Studies have shown that participating in after-school activities increased self-worth, which can positively impact other areas of a child’s life, including their involvement in school.

Cooper said the program would focus on providing services for low-income families offering activities at reduced cost, possibly $35, instead of the typical $56 to $150 price tag.

But offering these expanded programs — and with a reduced rate — comes at its own cost.

“The first year of this program is probably going to be front loaded,” Cooper said.

A three-city program would require an additional recreation director. Troutdale has a recreation director, Mollie King, who could not take on the expanded program on her own. This is where the upfront costs to Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village comes in.

“The program was never designed to be all encompassing,” he said. “It was designed for expenses to be born by the cities and share the cost, all other materials paid for by the program.”

Although Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust is supportive, the council is more reluctant.

They are concerned with the additional cost to Troutdale which has a self-sustaining program. During the initial presentation Feb. 23, the Troutdale council did not want to change the scope of its recreation pamphlet to include all three cities. It endorsed allowing city managers to create a flier at Fairview’s expense to advertise Troutdale’s recreation program in the two other cities.

“Our city administrator is optimistic that he heard enough positive things out of that (meeting) that we have room to move forward,” Cooper said.

The Troutdale council asked its parks committee to look at the proposal.

“They have a program and we are coming to ask to change their program,” Cooper said. “I understand from their perspective to go slow. So we will be ... going to park committees, get recommendations from the committee and coming back and maybe having a deeper discussion on how we can work together for a common goal.”

Wood Village discussed the proposal at its Feb. 25 meeting, Cooper said, and was supportive.

“From Fairview and Wood Village, we do not have functioning recreation programs and both have for a long time wanted one,” Cooper said. “This is that opportunity for us to step up and get involved.”

He added they have a year to work through the kinks and form a cohesive plan before hopefully launching a program in the summer of 2017.

“I’m optimistic we can bring it around,” he said.