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Kelso Rotary Skate Park

The sun came out just long enough so that both Drew Schmidt of Kelso and his bike shadow could drop down off the rim into a bowl at the Kelso Rotary Skate Park. Schmidt did not have a lot of sun, but he had quite a bit of company at the park in the cool dry spells between showers.

A consultant’s study recommends steps to improve and maintain three small Kelso parks, saying those measures should be the city’s top priorities for the parks.

Consultant Harper Houf Peterson and Righellis Inc. outlined work needed at Lads and Lassies Park, Rhododendron Garden Park, Rotary Skate Park and along the city’s riverfront trails.

“The first project I would put at the top would be the Lads and Lassies Park because of the potential for that property to deteriorate even further and become a problem that’s regretful,” landscape architect Dan Chin told the Kelso City Council Tuesday night.

Lads and Lassies Park is located at South Eighth Avenue and Elm Street. It has a playground, park benches, picnic table and a bike rack.

Chin said trees need pruning to increase the park’s visibility, and the park needs physical barriers to stop motorbikes from passing through the area. Chin added that the city could consider buying a nearby property on Elm Street for a potential community center or other neighborhood amenity.

The study also recommends addition of new playground equipment at Rhododendron Garden Park, located between North Pacific and Kelso avenues.

In addition, other priorities are improving drainage at Rotary Skate Park and diversifying riverfront recreational opportunities at the city’s riverfront trails, particularly along the Coweeman River.

“You’ve got these two river ways that a lot of communities don’t have and they seem clean and navigable,” Chin said.

Councilmen Jim Hill and Mike Karnofski both voiced support for immediately working on improvements for Lads and Lassies Park.

“I would hope we would take a hard look at putting (Lads and Lassies) on the fast track to doing something about,” Hill said. “That park has an … immediate impact on that community down there.”

Karnofski said he was concerned about parking issues around Rhododendron Park if traffic increases there.

Chin responded that the idea would be to promote walking and biking traffic to the park instead of driving.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the capital improvement program for transportation, water, sewer and drainage projects.
  • Awarded a $157,500 contract to repair Old Pacific Highway.
  • Awarded a $280,300 contract for the Columbia Street water main replacement.
  • Reappointed members to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
  • Awarded a contract not to exceed $178,800 for Tam O’Shanter Park parking and circulation designs.
  • Heard updates on the police department and library.
  • Updated its procurement policies and procedures.


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