Group wants ability to phase in construction

The Lake Oswego City Council approved another $51,797 for community center planning April 3 but sent a strong message to a steering committee on the project that they want options - not a single proposal - when the group makes a recommendation to them in June.

The increased funding for Boora Architects to plan the job brought the total cost of community center planning to $313,709.

The additional money affords the added cost of moving the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department to the proposed project site at 4101 Kruse Way. It also affords a lengthened timeline for planning a community center, originally projected to take six months, and an added 11 meetings.

Community Center Development Director Brant Williams said the prevailing theme among public feedback at meetings so far is that the project is too costly and grandiose, given the city's other needs.

In response, the Lake Oswego City Council directed the steering committee to develop priorities in a community center and a plan for phasing its construction, rather than recommending a single option.

'I would be very uncomfortable with just getting a single recommendation,' Mayor Judie Hammerstad said.

She was supported by city councilors, who said a one-size-fits-all proposal may not fit in Lake Oswego and that phasing construction and borrowing little or no money for a community center may be a better plan than tackling the whole thing at once.

'I just wouldn't want to be put in a position where later on when we have to make a decision I have to guess what the steering committee's intentions were,' said Kristin Johnson, a city councilor. 'I would like to know where the flexibility is in the plan.'

The steering committee was also asked to explore reducing the cost of membership fees.

The council, for its part, agreed to speed an inquiry into library needs and move faster on a financial analysis of the project.

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