During the past year, the Astoria School District has consulted with Columbia Memorial Hospital on developing the Warren Field property. The hospital wishes to obtain Warren Field and use it for future hospital expansion.
In a meeting earlier this year, the hospital’s management team offered to provide a modern sports facility within the City of Astoria at no cost to the school district—a facility that will benefit all the kids in our community—in return for Warren Field. The Astoria School District recommends accepting this mutually beneficial offer.
· Note: Under the proposed agreement, the school district would not give up using Warren Field until after the new sports facility is finished, tentatively scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2013.
· Note: The hospital’s offer has never included a cash payment for Warren Field. The offer is to provide a new multi-sport facility at the hospital’s expense, with no cost to the Astoria School District.
Site for the new sports facility
While discussions about Warren Field were under way between Columbia Memorial Hospital and the school district, the City of Astoria talked about starting the process of “capping” the old city landfill facility. “Capping” means taking steps to convert the landfill to a clean, safe facility that is desirable for other uses. Numerous communities throughout the nation have used this technique successfully to convert landfills to healthy recreational assets. The following are just a few examples:
· Warrenton, Oregon: The City of Warrenton capped a landfill, located on Ridge Road, more than twenty years ago. The area was cultivated into a fine soccer complex and is now home to Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association.
· Danville, Indiana: The capped landfill at the Twin Bridges site has a golf course, soccer complex, softball fields, archery range, trails and firing range.
· Northbrook, Illinois: This community used clean soil from a construction project to convert a landfill into a nine-hole golf course and pro-shop.
· Wilmington, North Carolina: The Cape Fear Youth Soccer Association converted the Flemington Landfill into a soccer complex with 16 fields, trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, concessions stands and bleachers. Other communities in North Carolina have undertaken such projects, including two landfills converted to municipal golf courses in Charlotte.
· Virginia Beach, Virginia: The community converted Mount Trashmore, a former 165-acre landfill, to a full-blown municipal park. Park facilities include picnic shelters, playground areas, a basketball court, volleyball areas, parking, a walking trail, and restrooms. The park also features two lakes for fishing.
The management team of Columbia Memorial Hospital reached an agreement with the city to use the rehabilitated landfill site for a new multi-sport facility.
Benefits to the community
The long-term public benefits of the proposed agreements among Columbia Memorial Hospital, the Astoria School District and the City of Astoria would be substantial:
· Columbia Memorial Hospital would be able to provide excellent health care facilities for this community over the next 75-100 years. The hospital would utilize the Warren Field property either for a new hospital or expansion of the present hospital to meet Astoria’s ever-growing health care needs.
· The Astoria School District would be able to provide safe, clean and accessible athletic facilities to the children of our community for many years. Our chief concern, as always, is the safety and wellbeing of our students, and we believe that this new facility will provide the means to achieve and maintain a high standard of physical fitness and healthy sports competition in our schools.
This is a true community collaboration that has tremendous benefits for all the parties involved.
The next steps
The Astoria School District Board of Directors will invite public comment on the Warren Field proposal at its meeting on August 8. Members of the public will have an opportunity to offer their views and ask questions. The Board will use this public input in evaluating the proposal and assessing the impacts on the district.
Large-scale public projects like this one often generate rumors and give rise to incorrect information. I strongly urge you to contact me if you have questions or concerns. I will share with you exactly what I know about this plan and all its ramifications.
Thank you for your time.