Mitch and Sandra Chmelik of the Save Green Oaks Park committee met with the Douglas County Park Department Parks Advisory Board at the Parks Advisory Board meeting Thursday, to continue their mission to revitalize and restore the Green Oaks County Park.
Green Oaks Park was closed more than five years ago due to a public outcry over the level of vandalism, homelessness and drug use that was making the park unsafe for the community.
“We have around 200 members in our community willing to participate in an Adopt-A-Park program in order to bring this park back,” Sandra Chmelik said. “We even had around 50 people come to our Save the Park event at Ray’s in probably the worst rain of the season, so far.”
Douglas County leadership has been vocal and steadfast in its position regarding Green Oaks Park.
“I made it clear the county no longer wants to own this property,” Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said. “It is a liability to the county and our goal is to convert liabilities to assets or eliminate the liability.”
Over the last three years, Douglas County Parks has worked diligently to become self-sufficient and to function within budget, according to Boice.
“The parks board is mostly concerned with being self-sustaining,” said Parks Board Chair Jerry Chartier. “This is the third time we have had you here and we are still encouraging you and giving you options.”
The parks board and commissioner Boice encouraged members of the Save Green Oaks Park committee to develop a nonprofit or work with the local homeowners association to find a way to take the park over entirely.
“The county is not interested in owning and operating this as a park,” said Boice, “that has never been on the table.”
Members of the Save Green Oaks Park committee disagree with the idea.
“We feel like this is a county park and it should be owned by the county. We do not want to take on full liability for the grounds,” said Sandra Chmelik.
The Save Green Oaks Park committee has contacted contractors and grant providers and has companies, volunteers and community members lined up to begin restoring Green Oaks Park. But without county commissioner approval, no forward movement can be started.
“I do have enough volunteers to start a nonprofit and if this is what Boice and the parks board need, then this might be what we have to do,” said Mitch Chmelik. “We still think county ownership would be best.”
Save Green Oaks Park has a three-phase plan to develop and improve the park, and needs only to be granted permission to take action on cleanup and revitalization.
“Phase one is really approval from the parks board and then remove 18 dead trees and multiple hazardous branches all of which will be chipped and used to construct a walking running path that encircles the park,” said Mitch Chmelik. “Phase two would be building a dog park and putting trail cams on the bridge and phase three would be to develop the frisbee golf course.”
Committee members say they have also talked to Pacific Power regarding the addition of solar power street lights that would give the park some illumination at night.
“Statistics show that just having lights reduces crime rates,” said Sandra Chmelik. “We also have spoken to individual officers who have told us they would use the park as a place to do paperwork in their cars to also discourage bad behavior.”
As the parks advisory board and the Save Green Oaks Park committee went back and forth discussing logistics and planning, a voice came from the crowd and provided an answer all parties considered.
“I think we need to set up a local task force like with the libraries,” said local resident Joe Ross. “We need to get the public, government and any involved local entities together to iron this out.”
The county has throw obstacle after obstacle at the group that wants to adopt this park. boice only wants to sell the park because the county only wants parks that make money. They spends millions of dollars on their RV parks on the coast yet don't want to invest a dime on a park in Green. They claim their RV parks are making money but don.t provide the figures to back it up. The people of Green deserve a green space.
Reasonable. Also, it sounds like there is enough interest in the Green community to help maintain this park. It's in a perfect location, lying there decaying.
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