Pasco plans to take steps toward building its first community park in at least 70 years.
The city budgeted $950,000 in 2015 to buy around 30 acres of what is now farmland north of Powerline Road in northwest Pasco, said Rick Terway, Pasco’s administrative and community services director.
The community park, which may be years away, could feature a spray park, restroom and fields for baseball and soccer.
Pasco’s only other community park is 13-acre Memorial Park on Shoshone Street west of downtown. That park features a softball field, basketball court, playground and the only remaining city-owned swimming pool. Terway said the newer park needs to be larger to meet modern parking demands.
“One of the most requested things that I have, and the park board as well, is a community park much like Memorial Park, not necessarily with the pool, but a multi-facility park where you have the ability to have large gatherings,” Terway told the city council at its recent 2015 budget workshop.
Memorial Park’s pool was built in the 1940s, but Terway wasn’t sure how old the rest of the park is.
Nine-acre Kurtzman Park in east Pasco, which has a spray park and ballfield, would be Pasco’s next closest thing to a community park, Terway said.
Pasco more recently took over operations of 127-acre Chiawana Park on the Columbia River in 2008 after Franklin County declined to renew its lease with the Army Corps of Engineers. But Mayor Matt Watkins pointed out this would be the first time the city has built such a large park of its own in many years.
The city has focused recently on neighborhood parks of around five acres that were built as subdivisions came in, Terway said.
The new park could also have a large picnic shelter, tennis courts and, possibly, a community building with a kitchen, Terway told the Herald.
“We’ll have a public meeting and see what the people want,” he said.
The city has yet to choose a final location to buy for the park, Terway said. But it hopes to find one in the next year.
“We’re just looking for someplace where we could get 30 to 40 acres in one spot,” he said.
The city has to act now to buy land for a park before real estate in the area is built out or becomes too expensive, said Councilman Saul Martinez, who represents northwest Pasco.
Having area set aside for the park will also allow Pasco to get state and federal grants to help build it.
“It’s just one of those deals where we’re trying to stay ahead of the game,” he said.
Terway’s department has a couple of other notable projects coming up in the next year, including expanding the Tri-City Dust Devils’ clubhouse at Gesa Stadium, he said. Minor League Baseball requires its teams to have locker space that meets certain standards.
The change, which will cost around $40,000, means the city must amend its lease with the team, which Terway said has five years left. The city wants to have the renovations complete by the time the Dust Devils open their home schedule June 23.
The city also plans to make improvements to Memorial Park. That includes renovating the large shelter at the park by removing its block wall to make it open air, Terway said. It will also put in a paved walkway between the playground and shelters.
A second basketball court at Richardson Park on West Pearl Street, just east of 20th Avenue, also is planned for 2015. The court would replace a swimming pool that was closed in 2012 after a major pump failure. Its cost is estimated at $35,000.