Citizens Weigh in on Canby Splash Pad Location

Wait Park. Maple Street Park. Legacy Park. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but who will get the rose? Er, I mean, splash pad? Sorry. I’ve been watching too much The Bachelor.

A public meeting was held in City Council chambers Tuesday night to discuss the location of the city’s new splash pad, a water feature that has been at or near the top of the community’s wish list for many years. It’s all but certain that a splash pad is coming; the big question is where to put the thing.

Several participants argued persuasively that the feature should be located downtown (which this author agrees with). The potential to spur economic growth and development and activate the city’s historic downtown core is something no other location can offer. Here’s Mallory Gwynn.

Though Wait Park would appear to be the favorite for downtown locations, it’s not the only possibility. Chris Calkins proposed a unique idea, one that would involve land not currently owned by the city, but which would honor one of the most beloved and emblematic figures in the community’s history: Elsie Cutsforth. 

It would also be the city’s first park to be named after a woman. The land Calkins is referring to is the gravel lot just west of the new Canby Public Library, and the one just across the street, near Thai Dish Cuisine.

Not everyone agreed that downtown was the best location, however. Purchasing land might not be possible, or may be prohibitively expensive. Changing Wait Park could negatively impact the park’s greatest asset: the popular events that it hosts throughout the year, including the Canby Independence Day Celebration, Canby’s Big Night Out, the Cutsforth’s Cruise-In Car Show and Light Up the Night.

Local community leader Greg Perez said most of the residents he’s spoken to believe Maple Street Park should get the splash pad, for a number of reasons. In particular, he believes it would be the most cost-effective solution.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will take the feedback from last night’s meeting and make a recommendation to the City Council, who will make the ultimate decision, which is expected in February or March of this year. Once a location is selected, work will proceed with the real fun stuff: designing the city’s newest attraction.

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