A community park in northwest Pasco, a new soccer complex and expanded waterfront access are some of the priorities identified in the city's proposed parks plan.
The public gets a chance to comment on the draft Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan at a public hearing tonight called by the Pasco Planning Commission.
The commission is to make a recommendation to the city council, which makes the final decision on the plan.
The city has to update the parks plan every six years to remain eligible for state park grants from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, said Rick Terway, Pasco administrative and community services director. State grants have helped the city develop parks in the past.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Pasco also hopes to use those grants to help fund an $800,000 soccer facility, Terway said. The city's grant application for about half the cost is pending.
The eight-field complex would be south of the Tri-Cities Airport and east of Sun Willows Golf Course, and would replace four worn-down fields at Road 36.
If the project doesn't receive the grant, Terway said the city will try again in 2013.
A new community park isn't yet part of the city's six-year capital improvement plan. But Terway said with growth in west Pasco, a community park is needed there.
What's needed is something similar to the city's Memorial Park, with several different recreational facilities and multiple uses, Terway said, on 10 to 15 acres.
He said the only places where people have complained there aren't have enough parks are in incomplete subdivisions that haven't generated enough impact fees to pay for a park.
Subdivisions have to be about 70 percent complete before the city receives enough impact money to finish a neighborhood park, Terway said.
The city plans to spend $265,000 to develop Linda Loviisa Park this year at Road 54 south of Burden Boulevard.
In 2012, the city also tentatively plans to develop Three Rivers Crossing, a neighborhood park next to the proposed elementary school at Road 60 and Sandifur Parkway, Terway said.
The Pasco School District plans to ask voters to pass a $59 million bond to pay for a new middle school, a new elementary school and an early learning center in an April 26 special election.
If that measure passes, Terway said the city will develop a park next to the school. The city tries to build parks next to schools when possible, and has three other parks next to schools. Terway said that makes the park more cost effective and maximizes the open space in an area.
Other neighborhood parks in the city's draft six-year plan include Chapel Hill Park on Road 60 south of Interstate 182, and purchasing property for a five-acre Livingston Park.
Pasco also will look for ways to enhance public river front access, Terway said, which could include adding pocket parks or access points along the Columbia River.
Long term, the city hopes to finish the Sacagawea Heritage Trail. As part of that work, Pasco would like to lower the river levee by three to five feet between roads 54 and 72 to complete the 22-mile loop bike and pedestrian path that connects the Tri-Cities.
When that work will be possible depends on when the Army Corps of Engineers finishes examining and repairing of the McNary Levee System, which protects the Tri-City shoreline.
Also on the long-term plan is adding a trail over the Franklin County Irrigation District's drainage ditch. Terway said the district eventually intends to put its water into pipes, which would allow the city to develop a trail.
In addition to new facilities, Terway said the draft plan emphasizes adding to city parks-based programs and expanding arts and crafts courses and alternative sports.
The Pasco Planning Commission meeting is set at 7 p.m. today in city council chambers at Pasco City Hall, 525 N. Third Ave. For the agenda or parks plan, go to www.pasco-wa.gov/ and click on the agendas and minutes link on the left-hand side of the page.