Neighbors of Pioneer Park, a 0.20-acre open space park between Nestucca Avenue and Miller Avenue, defended its existence at the Oct. 7 Tillamook City Council meeting.
In their proposal, the City wrote that due to “increasing budgetary pressures, particularly within its Sewer and Street/Storm Drain/Parks Divisions, and a fast approaching deadline for payment of obligations, the City Council is looking at measures to minimize costs and realize revenues.”
Three properties were proposed as surplus and considered to be put up for sale: Pioneer Park on Ninth Street, a portion of the area known as Roosevelt Park on Hwy 101, and a portion of the area known as Hadley Recreation Area on Hwy 101.
“In the case of the Ninth Street parcel, it would change from an open space to a residential use,” the City wrote in their proposal. “While historically there has been some play equipment at that location, currently, this small parcel has no functioning active recreational components other than as an off-street walking route connecting two dead-end streets, but residential development would preclude that aspect from continuing. The two streets do provide more than sufficient access for any future residential development and the traffic impacts of such development would be minimal.”
But, the neighborhood doesn’t want to see that open space changed.
Currently the property is cared for by the surrounding property owners.
Todd Bush believes he’s spent 20 years helping maintain the park.
“Even though there’s not a basketball hoop or a swing set, it’s a useful park,” Bush told the City Council. “My time, my fuel, I’ve never asked for a thing. Our neighbors…we’re going to keep it clean.”
Additional neighbors recounted the years of seeing kids play catch, friends walking their dogs, and people picnicking at Pioneer Park.
“Keep it as a public place where people can go and pass through,” David Wells said.
At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Council voiced that they agreed with the 9th Street neighbors.
“I rarely see a community come together to do something,” City Councilor Rebekah Hopkins said. “I don’t think I would vote to rezone that park. It sounds as if it’s getting used and cared for deeply.”
The City Council instructed City staff to take Pioneer Park off the table but to continue pursuing the zoning change and sale of the land parcels on Hwy 101.