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Citizens asked to help plan Scappoose's recreational future

Committee exploring how to improve city's park offerings

A community dialog about recreational land in Scappoose will continue this Saturday, April 16, when the city hosts a parks planning workshop at City Hall from 9 a.m. to noon.

The public workshop is part of an effort to create a parks master plan for the city of Scappoose. The city doesn't have a parks and recreation department, but it now has the next best thing.

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Nick Sund (left) leads Scappoose Parks Committee members on an outing to explore recreational areas across Scappoose. The city is seeking public feedback as it updates its master plan for parks.A parks committee was formed in October and now meets monthly. The nine-member committee is tackling the city's established parks, trails, undeveloped land with park potential and Chapman Landing, which connects to the Crown Zellerbach Trail.

The committee is working in concert with Nick Sund, a graduate student hired by the city using grant dollars to lead the city's parks planning efforts.

“There's a lot of ideas of how we can improve our parks system in Scappoose,” Sund said. “A lot of what we've been working on is how to prioritize those ideas.”

The committee is large, drawing members from the Port of St. Helens, Scappoose City Councilor Joel Haugen, recreation enthusiasts and a representative from the county and the Scappoose School District.

Sund said the committee has prioritized marketing and communication, Chapman Landing and the CZ Trail.

Currently, Scappoose has three developed parks: Miller Park, Heritage Park and Veterans Park. Those areas make up about 21 acres of park space, Sund said. That's still below state recommendations, which suggest 6.25 to 12.5 acres per 1,000 residents.

“We would need at least twice as much park space in order to achieve the minimum standards,” Sund noted via email. “Thankfully, the City already owns a few pieces of property around town that could be developed as parks, including 80 acres of woodland just west of town which is suitable for a range of activities including mountain biking, disc golf, nature trails, and more.”

Developing that area into accessible recreational space would increase the city's ratio to well above the state's parks service guidelines.

Sund said acreage is only one piece of the puzzle.

One of the most crucial pieces of the parks planning process is public involvement.

In addition to inviting feedback from residents and nearby community users at monthly meetings and periodic workshops, residents have been asked to provide their feedback about the city's parks via a survey. Surveys were mailed to residents and can also be accessed through a link on the city's website.

Mapping out available land and additional recreational opportunities will help the city achieve a greater quality of life for its residents and provide more outdoor opportunities in a city that is poised for growth.

“Scappoose is growing up," Sund said. "That's why it's important to be doing this parks planning right now.”