Sports park fee plan pitched to commissioners

Youth leagues would get first priority to use Luke Jensen fields

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 
photoThis sketch offers a view of what the Luke Jensen Sports Park in Hazel Dell will look like. It’s estimated to be completed in early 2012.

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Parks department wants feedback

Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation is seeking public comment on two policy changes. In addition to the proposed fees for Luke Jensen Sports Park, the parks department is considering offering a $10 discount on its $40 annual parks pass. The discount would be available to residents 62 and older, veterans, active military personnel and park volunteers who serve at least 24 hours in a year. To comment, go to http://www.vancla..., email clarkparks@clark.... or write Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 1995, Vancouver, WA 98668. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Nov. 10.

A proposed policy for operations and field use fees for the Luke Jensen Sports Park in Hazel Dell was vetted this week by the Clark County commissioners.

The sports facility will open early next year.

Pete Mayer, director of Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation, told commissioners that there will be hourly field rental fees for games at the sports park.

The park includes two grass Little League baseball/softball fields with dugouts and bullpens, two small synthetic turf fields for T-ball and pee-wee soccer, and a large, lighted synthetic turf field with scoreboards, dugouts, bullpens and batting cages.

Clark County youth leagues will be given priority, Mayer said. Salmon Creek Little League and Westside Soccer will be primary users during their respective seasons. Clark County adult sports leagues will be given second priority, while all other teams — squads based outside of Clark County — can pay to play if fields are available.

The fields will be open for free public use when not reserved.

Mayer said youth leagues that have already contributed to the park’s capital costs will be credited accordingly, but hourly fees are proposed at $25 to $35 for youth leagues, $35 to $45 for adult leagues and $45 to $55 for out-of-town squads.

Mayer said teams will also pay daily maintenance fees, ranging from $20 to $45.

The proposed cost for tournaments is $750 a day plus a $55 daily maintenance fee.

Teams will be able to schedule field time online, Mayer said.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission will consider whether to recommend the policy change to the county commissioners during a meeting at noon Nov. 18 in the sixth-floor training room at the Clark County Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

A public comment period will be included.

If the proposal gets a green light, county commissioners will vote on it in December.

On Wednesday, Mayer told commissioners that leagues have been receptive to the proposed fees at Luke Jensen Sports Park, which will be used to help pay for operations and maintenance and to replace the turf in approximately 10 years. The fees are comparable to other field rates in the area, Mayer said.

The fees were a recommendation from the Clark County Blue Ribbon Parks Commission, which concluded that “public park and recreation providers should implement new or expanded user fees to help cover maintenance and operations costs, especially at facilities that provide exclusive use to certain groups.”

Luke Jensen Sports Park, a 20-acre site on Northeast 78th Street, will include a concessions/restrooms building, walking/biking trails and a playground.

Last year, county commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding between the county, Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department, Vancouver First Church of God and King’s Way Christian Schools.

The 25-year agreement sets out the terms for shared use of parking and fields as well as maintenance.

Earlier this year, commissioners approved naming the $9 million sports park in memory of Luke Jensen, who was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and died in May 2010 at the age of 9. Luke attended King’s Way Christian Schools, where his father, Steve, serves as a principal.

Stephanie Rice: www.facebook.com/reporterrice; twitter.com/col_clarkgov; stephanie.rice@columbian.com.