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Temporary fix may be coming to end



That big piece of land that so many of us find useful — for walking, playing softball, picnicking, holding reunions and much more — needs to be maintained, and it’s not free.

North Dam Park takes some $30,000 a year to maintain, and the community rallied to save it after the city of Grand Coulee decided it could no longer support it alone.

Local cities have been drawing from hotel/motel tax funds designated for boosting tourism to help maintain the park where big events are held. That was always seen as a stop-gap measure, in place until other funding could be arranged.

But commissioners for the Coulee Area Park and Recreation District Monday learned that the usual method for such funding, a small property tax, would offer very little and is no long-term fix due to specifics in state law.

That means the park’s future is nearly as uncertain as it was a few years ago when local residents took it upon themselves to rescue the park with a fleet of riding lawnmowers in a great show of community spirit, tinged with desperation.

The land’s owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, has provided an almost $150,000 matching grant for improvements and maintenance at the park, but those funds cannot stand alone; they need a match, and the park district has no other income.

It’s time for community leaders to revisit the problem and find a permanent solution, including members of the city and town councils, mayors, the park district, and the USBR.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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