DuPont council rejects park maintenance help

DUPONT, Wash. — Two property owner organizations offered free landscaping for two city parks, and the City Council said no, thanks.

The council voted 4-3 last week to turn down the offer to pick up landscaping costs for five years at Ross Plaza and Clocktower Park in the Northwest Landing community, The News Tribune reported Thursday.

The offer was made by the Northwest Landing Residential Owners Association and the Commercial Owners Association because park maintenance was scaled back in 2010 budget cuts.

Opponents of the offer said that’s not the way to run parks and it wouldn’t be fair to 10 other parks in the Pierce County city.

“Let’s get our acts together and start running our parks and our departments and stop relying on charity,” Councilman Michael Gorski said. “This is one of these things that sounds fantastic on the surface, but it really makes no sense.”

Councilman Roger Westman said it wouldn’t be equitable for some parks to receive maintenance while others do not. He also said it would be unfair for owner association members to cover costs while other park users wouldn’t pay.

On the other hand, Mayor Michael Grayum thought the offer made good sense. As the city faced difficult financial times, he’s encouraged volunteering and looked for ways to partner with community groups.

“I think it sends an inconsistent message,” Grayum said. “Both of these entities, a private entity and an association, have stepped up and said ‘we want to adopt the parks’ and they got told no.”

Ross Plaza is the site of movies in the park, fire safety day, the DuPont music festival and holiday tree-lighting event. It also holds the city’s veterans war memorial.

Clocktower is the location of the city’s Fourth of July celebration.

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