Everyone loves the public parks in Columbia Heights. When the city commissioned a survey in preparation for the 2040 comprehensive plan, “Loving our parks” was the number one comment.
Parks are a valuable asset to any city. They can be used during good times and bad, by people rich or poor. Parks improve the health of our city. They provide a space where people can play, walk their dog, play sports, or to just sit and relax and enjoy. If elected to Columbia Heights City Council, I would like to continue working towards upgrading our parks. Upgrades that I support include investments to our trail system, developing a regulation-size soccer field(s) and a public skate park. I would like to hear your thoughts on how to improve our parks.
A few years ago, the Parks and Recreation Commission asked our Public Works Director to write a report on the upgrades needed and the cost of those upgrades for all parks. The price tag came in at roughly six million dollars. Currently, it costs about five hundred thousand dollars or more to upgrade a park.
As it stands, the money for upgrading parks comes from redevelopment projects such as the Legends, Grand Central Flats. If large redevelopment projects do not occur then there is no funding available to upgrade parks. There are several alternatives to this funding model that are worth exploring, and such as bonds, public/private partnerships and others. Prioritizing a long-range plan for our parks and developing ways to pay for them will be a benefit to Columbia Heights.