Future park could be a real treasure

A beautiful parcel of riverfront property will soon belong to the city of Washougal.

Last night, the City Council unanimously approved the purchase of 17 acres of land that for more than 50 years was the site of the George Schmid & Sons, Inc., offices, west of 32nd and “Q” streets. Since the closure of the family business at the end of 2009, the property has sat unused, surrounded by a chain-link fence.

With the $599,000 purchase, this property now has the potential to become a true treasure in the Washougal community. It will be Washougal’s largest park, in a city that is in great need of them. Possible amenities include a playground, sport court, paths, trails, water access and parking.

Now that the purchase has been confirmed, instead of continuing to sit vacant, it would be nice to see this park at least begin to take shape relatively soon. An article in today’s Post-Record states that there is currently no time line and no funding set-aside for its development. City leaders, should make this a priority. Washougal has been successful in the past when it comes to earning grants for parks and trails projects from organizations such as the Parks Foundation, and this would be a logical avenue to pursue once again.

Once funding is secured, it will be exciting to watch this park take shape.

If not for the vision and foresight of city officials and one of Washougal’s notable families, this treasure may have simply been turned into just another housing and commercial development. Instead, it has the potential to become a place for the community to gather and recreate for years to come.