It has been five years after Camas officials first approved a master plan for the city’s historic Crown Park, and two years since city council members — previously stymied by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on public construction projects — affirmed their interest in redesigning the entire park, but now the long-awaited remodel of Camas’ “outdoor living room” is on the cusp of realization.
In late October, Camas Parks and Recreation Director Trang Lam reminded members of the Camas Parks and Recreation Commission that she had approached city officials in 2021, with options for the planned Crown Park remodel.
“When we came to the Council in 2021 to revive the master plan, we had three choices: build the entire park; design major amenities (including) the splash pad, bathroom, new picnic shelter, inclusive playground … updated pathways and parking; or the third option — just build a bathroom and call it good,” Tram told Commission members during their Oct. 26 meeting. “Council told us to design the entire park.”
In the nearly two years since that decision, Lam was able to secure a $500,000 grant from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office to help offset the $6.3 million Crown Park remodel.
“When we went to the RCO with our grant, we were conservative,” Lam told the parks commission members in October. “If we went with the footprint for the entire park, we would have to build the entire park to be compliant with the grant.”
Instead, Lam’s grant focused on major elements of the master plan: the restroom, interactive water feature, a new picnic shelter — the current picnic shelter will also remain — an inclusive playground, an open lawn area, stormwater planter and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant parking along Northeast 17th Avenue.
To receive the $500,000 RCO grant, the city must complete those elements of the Crown Park master plan, but members of the Parks and Recreation Commission are urging the Camas City Council to move forward with construction on the entire Crown Park remodel.