Washougal pursues Clark County funding for Schmid property purchase

Paul Greenlee favored site for recreation center

The Washougal City Council has authorized Mayor Sean Guard to sign an interlocal agreement with Clark County, for partial funding of future park land owned by the Schmid Family Limited Partnership I.

The city is requesting $299,500 from the county conservation futures program. That is half of the total estimated property acquisition price of $599,000 for 17.88 acres at 1407 32nd St.

It is the former site of George Schmid & Sons, Inc., offices and bulldozers.

The city plans to seek a grant from the State Recreation and Conservation Office, to develop the property by 2017.

Preliminary concepts include picnic gazebos overlooking the floodplain and river, a main pavilion for larger activities, a playground, trail and sidewalk connections, parking facility and possibly one or two sport courts.

The council’s 4-0 vote last night to move the interlocal agreement forward occurred after Paul Greenlee made a motion to table a decision by one week. His motion failed 3 to 1.

Council members Michelle Wagner, Joyce Lindsay and Jennifer McDaniel had excused absences, and Greenlee wanted them to be included in discussions regarding potential uses of the park area.

“The city already has a lot of green, open space, with limited use,” Greenlee said.

He described the site as an obvious location for a future recreation center, due to its proximity to Gause and Hathaway elementary schools, as well as Washougal High School.

City Administrator David Scott said the agreement is for a park, not a community center.

At the Oct. 13 council meeting, Scott referred to the potential of a feasibility study for a new community/recreation center. The study, estimated to cost less than $100,000, could be paid for from unrestricted reserves.

The study was not included in the 2015 preliminary budget presented on Oct. 27.

“We talked about the possibility of paying for a study but based on the input from the council, we did not include that in the proposed budget,” said Finance Director Jennifer Forsberg.

During the Oct. 17 meeting of the council budget committee, attendees said although a community/recreation center is a project of interest, they concurred that other matters need funding. Greenlee and Lindsay did not attend the committee meeting.

Freeman said last night she would be excited to have a community center, particularly one with a pool, but she said the Schmid property is not a large enough parcel to include parking.