Recreation on the Radar

By Matt Kearny – Wenatchee Valley Sports

A couple of important processes are in the works concerning the future scope of recreation in the Wenatchee Valley. On the outdoor recreation scene, a group of local stakeholders has been formed with the intent of gaining a better understanding of our outdoor recreation assets. It’s no secret Chelan and Douglas counties are continuing to gain momentum as an outdoor recreation hub for locals and visitors alike. Our unique blend of mountains, rivers, lakes and trail systems that afford visitors and residents amazing opportunities for hiking, cycling, boating, fishing, skiing and much more are gaining recognition on a worldwide basis. Phase 1 is to coordinate an economic impact study in order to better identify and quantify the importance of outdoor recreation here. Once completed, phase 2 would commence using the findings of the survey as a tool for education, with the goal of leveraging these tremendous assets to the benefit of residents and our local business community. The Request for Proposal has been sent out to selected firms with responses due mid-August.
Meanwhile, at the invitation of the Eastmont Metropolitan Parks District (EMPD) and the City of Wenatchee, the Trust for Public Lands is working separately with each jurisdiction on feasibility research to look into funding for the benefit of parks and related recreation facilities in each area. Exploring fundraising options for the possible formation of a metropolitan parks district in Wenatchee would be a consideration. Meanwhile, capital Improvements are on the radar for the EMPD. Public opinion surveys may be conducted as soon as the 4th quarter of this year in order to gauge the interest level on specifics concerning a property tax assessment resulting in parks improvements/possible expansion plans. If poll findings indicate a positive reaction to move forward, it would be possible for the measures to be included on a future general election ballot.
While the outdoor recreation study and the Trust for Public Lands projects are completely separate endeavors, these actions are indicative of the importance recreation carries as it steadily moves up on our list of priorities not only for resident’s lifestyles but the potential economic impact involved. If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call and I can assist you or forward them on to the appropriate parties.

Matt can be reached at the Wenatchee Valley Chamber office at 509-662-2116 or matt@wenatchee.org

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