Save the Crown Park Pool and Keep Crown Park Green!
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Hello Friends of Crown Park!
Earlier this year, after an inspection and discovery of multiple failing facilities, the Camas City Council announced the immediate closure and imminent destruction of the 64 year-old Crown Park Community Pool.
Prior to their decision, the Council created an online poll for the citizens of Camas regarding the future of the Crown Park Pool. However, instead of focusing solely on the singular problem of the pool, for which the cost of renovation alone was estimated at $2 - $3 million dollars, this was a poll regarding a full makeover of Crown Park. There were two options for citizens to choose from, one with a new pool at Crown Park, and one where the pool would be demolished and replaced with a splash pad. Both options were loaded with additional major renovations for the entire park, including projects like replacing the current playgrounds with $300k of new equipment, pouring 12’ concrete pathways to crisscross the green space of the park at a cost of $400k, and spending $700k on landscaping what is already a beautiful city park. Along with a host of other projects over the 7 acres, there was a $10m price tag on the option of keeping a community pool at Crown Park.
Before their annual planning weekend, the Camas City Council invited the public to an open meeting about the future of Crown Park. Dozens of emails from citizens unable to attend were sent to the Parks and Recreation Department and City Council, and there were 25 adult citizens in attendance, many of whose children came along, too. Of the citizens in attendance, over a dozen mothers and fathers stood and made pleas not only to continue to have a place for their kids to swim each summer, but also the need for a place for the children of our community to learn how to swim. Every summer, there are deaths in our lakes and rivers, and every summer, our community pool provides a strong defense against even more fatalities in our waterways. For years, The Crown Park Community Pool has provided swim lessons for the public, including children of all ages, certified by the Red Cross. These classes consistently fill up every summer, with families waiting on lists for their children to learn to swim. As our community grows, so grows Camas’ need for this service, and our citizens continually reaffirm this by their repeated presence. Thousands of people have learned to swim at the Crown Park Pool, and thousands more have come to enjoy sunny days swimming at the park with moms and dads, brothers and sisters and friends. It is a great community asset, the citizens stood up to say, a valuable and unique fixture, and one of the crown jewels of Camas.
No one stood to speak out in favor of a splash pad.
The meeting was adjourned with the promise of considering the input from the community as the Council made their decision on the future of Crown Park. Less than two days following the meeting it was announced that the City Council had made their decision: to remove the landmark Crown Park Community Pool and replace it with a splash pad.
At the initial meeting, there was a remark from someone on the council that it would be difficult to break this news to the public because of the nostalgia many townspeople held for the pool. The Crown Park Pool has been a summertime fixture and memory-maker for over three generations of children and families in Camas and Clark County, and this loss strikes close to many Camas citizens hearts. But there is more to the public’s loss aversion than this.
We are not a town that should be losing public services. With our increasing population and escalating property taxes, our City Council should be working not only to add quality of life opportunities around Camas, but at the very least, continuing to maintain our current recreational opportunities and services for the children and families of our town. By shutting down the Crown Park Community Pool, a sixty+ year gathering place and warm weather tradition for the children and families of Camas, the City Council is choosing to ignore the needs of the Camas community for outdoor summer recreation, failing to continue to provide life-saving swim lessons, and eliminating the community-building jobs the pool creates annually. With the $10m whole-park makeover proposed at Crown Park, it is evident that the cost of simply repairing the pool is available. There is also a desire from the public to eliminate the excess unnecessary spending on projects and associated costs for drastically changing the natural beauty of Crown Park, and instead to simply focus on renovating the pool.
We are petitioning for our Camas Mayor, Scott Higgins, and the Camas City Council, to stop the imminent destruction of the existing pool, cease the majority of extra projects for the park as a whole and focus the Crown Park project funds solely on the task of renovating and reopening the Crown Park Community Pool for the children and families of Camas.
Let’s Save the Crown Park Pool, and Keep Crown Park Green!
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