WOODLAND — While the future of a swimming pool in Woodland remains unclear, an alternative water feature is in the works.
The Woodland City Council on Monday accepted Holland America Bulb Farms owner Benno Dobbe’s land donation for a splash pad.
The city will develop the parcels, located across Park Road from Horseshoe Lake Park, into a park with a splash pad and restrooms, according to the agreement.
The park will be tulip themed — an homage to the Dobbes’ Woodland Bottoms tulip farm — and be named “Benno and Klazina Dobbe Memorial Park.”
Klazina Dobbe died in February 2021 but would have appreciated seeing the land used for a splash pad, Benno Dobbe told the council on Monday.
Dobbe said he purchased land in 1999, intending to donate it to the city for a good cause. The parcels are separate from the property the nonprofit Woodland Swimming Pool Committee owns at 785 Lakeshore Drive, adjacent to the donated land.
The Woodland Swimming Pool Committee, of which Dobbe is a member, has fundraised and purchased property for building a swimming pool for more than 30 years. The committee is considering its options after the YMCA pulled out of the project, Dobbe said Tuesday.
The committee is an active, registered nonprofit with the state and had about $896,000 at the end of 2021, according to the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities filing system.
After building a swimming pool didn’t happen for a “variety of reasons,” Dobbe reached out to the mayor about the splash pad option on his family’s property, he said.
“It’s a great alternative for a pool,” Dobbe said. “I think the community will very much appreciate it. I think it is going to be a nice addition to the city, I think it is good for the kids, actually for any age, but mainly for the kids.”
The city council agreed, with all members speaking in favor of the project.
Council Member Monte Smith said the splash pad is needed to keep small children away from the lake, where they are at risk of drowning.
Council Member Melissa Doughty said the park, which would be located behind Goerig Street, will help bring families into town, where they can patronize local businesses.
It will “really get people to recognize Woodland for more than just the lake,” she said. “I think that just adds even more benefit.”
The city will pay Dobbe about $10,000 for attorney fees and related expenses. Combined, the properties have an assessed value of $78,620, according to the Cowlitz County Assessor’s Office.
Woodland received $82,000 in “legislative funds” to put toward the splash pad and will look for grants and donations, according to the meeting documents. It’s unclear how much the project will cost, but the city of Kelso is spending about $836,000 to replace equipment at the Catlin Rotary Spray Park.
Building a splash pad near Horseshoe Lake Park is one of the objectives outlined in the city’s 2023 Park and Recreation Plan the council approved in May. Most residents who responded to a related survey stated their household members would use a splash pad if constructed, according to the plan.