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home : opinions : editorials October 13, 2015

5/25/2012 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Investment in outdoor recreation will pay off
The Daily Courier

One thing is for sure. Prescott can and should capitalize on its outdoor recreation opportunities, especially in the summertime when temperatures in the cities to the south of us reach triple digits.

Fortunately, we have a cadre of outdoor enthusiasts who have advocated for and helped build trails for hiking and meandering almost any day of the year, except during times of heavy snowfall.

We have our lakes - Lynx, Watson, Willow and Goldwater. We have the Prescott National Forest for camping and recreating. We have wonderful museums and myriad events on the courthouse plaza for residents and visitors alike to enjoy year around, but especially when blistering summer heat sends people north.

Indeed, Prescott has much to offer, and a plan in the works makes sense, not only for the enjoyment of people who live here but also for those who visit.

Goldwater Lake off Senator Highway came into the spotlight at a Prescott City Council budget workshop this week when Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes made a case for expanding the parking area at this favorite spot.

"Right now, we are turning people away," he said, explaining that the parking lot fills beyond capacity in the summer when people flock to its serenity or to kayak and canoe. The 15-acre lake has fishing docks, a launch ramp for electric boats, a ramada and tables for picnics, a playground, a sand volleyball court, hiking trails, and horseshoe pits.

Goldwater Lake is truly a jewel among Prescott's amenities. Baynes is proposing doubling the parking spaces in the first phase of expansion and tripling the capacity by the next phase. Though the plan is still conceptual, Baynes suggested spending about $350,000 of park impact fee money for the first phase, which would include a 100-space parking lot, a new ramada and a new restroom. At completion of the second phase, improvements would add more parking spaces and a new water well to replace the need to haul water in. The cost of both phases would amount to about $900,000, Baynes said, and would come out of the $1.4 million the city now has in its parks impact fee fund.

Yes, $900,000 seems like a lot of money to spend when economic conditions are uncertain. But, at the same time, we have to look to the future and build on our successes.

Goldwater Lake has proved to be a shining star in our firmament. It's well worth the investment.

Go for it, Prescott City Council.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2012
Article comment by: It's MY Home Town

This town was more fun before the idealogues moved in. I for one thought that a civic Easter Egg Hunt was not an unreasonable activity in "Everybody's Home Town". But we wouldn't want to spend tax dollars on anyone but developers, would we?

The library comment probably takes the cake.

Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Article comment by: What say you, John?

Looks like John Galt got handed his lunch in this exchange. Any comeback from John or just moving on with the tail between the legs? John?

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Article comment by: Wrong, John

to John Galt: Here is a quote straight from the Courier about the Disc Golf advocates proposal to the City: "Their proposal indicated that the city's start-up costs would be about $11,485, including the baskets, tee pads, signs, concrete, and garbage barrels."

Looks like you are the one who needs to be informed, John.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Article comment by: John Galt

Actually, the disc golf people said they would raise their own money. They didn't ask the City for any.

Be informed. Watch a council meeting once in awhile.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Article comment by: open book

In the spirit of wanting to only pay for my activities and nobody elses, I am not too happy that the fees collected at the lake parks and Peavine trailhead are slated to build a ball park. The funds would be much better used to improve the parks and trailheads at which they were collected. The restrooms at Watson and Willow Lakes need to be retrifitted to be open year-round, and a new restroom is being built at the Peavine, but is it with this money? Softball fields are very expensive to maintain and serve only a small portion of our local residents. And at Goldwater, why disc golf through the back door? It could easily be paid for with some of the user fees.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Peace Nik

Unless the current parking procedure at Goldwater Lake changes, people will be lined up for an hour trying to enter OR will just park without paying because of the impediments. The self-pay booth is a disaster...anyone not completely familiar with it takes at least 5 min to get through the procedure. I had only 4 cars in front of me the other day and it took 10 minutes to get through the line. We need a PERSON, perhaps a volunteer, to collect the fee. When and if we open to Frisbee golf, the lines will extend to Senator Highway. I just can't understand WHY there isn't an entrance fee, say $2.00,a to watch the ball games and various activities at the parks? WHY are sporting events given a free pass while those of us who love the parks and lakes have to pay? Charge an entrance fee for softball, hockey, semi-professional teams and share the pain...not everyone is a sports fan many of us just like to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Could this be a macho contrivance?

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Disc Golf through the backdoor?

Does anyone else smell a rat here? First get the City to use virtually ALL of their impact money for parking, ramadas, and other infrastructure at Goldwater Lake. Then, when that's complete, its time to spring the Disk Golf Course at Goldwater Lake on the taxpayers. And the argument will be "well, we now have the parking and facilities in place, so why not pony up XXX dollars and build a Disc Golf Course at Goldwater Lake?"

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Drain impact fee account for one project? Bad idea!

Given the inevitable cost overruns, this single proposed Goldwater Lake project would deplete the entire Parks impact fee account. And what would it accomplish? All it will assure is that little Goldwater Lake will be ridiculously overcrowded during the summer. If it must be done, why not start with an inexpensive option like a dirt parking lot to handle overflow traffic until the City budget is in better shape? Otherwise, the City will soon be back hitting taxpayers with more Fees because the Parks impact fee will have been drained and they will want something like a Frisbee Golf Course added to Goldwater Lake.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: La Provocateur

Another Chamber of Commerce scheme! The city loves to improve facilities so that the Chamber can advertise those to out-of-towners and draw more tourists to the area so they can make more money.

Tourism might help the Chamber businesses, but it ruins a nice community by increasing traffic and overcrowding facilities, hence the 'need' for more parking. The reason they won't do a shuttle from town is because that would benefit the locals but the real aim is to bring in more cars and people from out of town who will cruise around and shop, they hope.

Of course the more popular it is, the more enticed the city is to increase fees and revenues. Don't think for a minute it won't cost an arm and a leg to use Goldwater Lake if all these improvements are made. Then the only ones who can afford to go there will be the Valley visitors which happens to be the goal anyway. Think they're considering this for locals? I think not.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Close the Library

Yet another good reason to charge user fees at the library (or close it altogether.) It would help encourage people to get outside and get active. People, kids especially, shouldn't be sitting in a library when they can be outside. Besides, the schools have libraries the kids can use.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012

It is not a new tax, it is not money that would go to the library, it is money we have already paid that is supposed to go to improve PARKS.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Rita Stricker

Here's a suggestion -- why not run a shuttle, say, every hour during daylight on summer weekends? Charge per family whatever the cost of the parking fee would be. It may not be a money-maker, but I think it would be worth at least a try before you go cutting down trees.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: There you go again

You are out of other people's money. 'Investment' used in this context is a joke. This is simple asset transfer from the producers to the non producers. If you want 'improved outdoor recreation' you can pay for it. We taxpayers are out of work and out of money. Courier: You can write editorials about how government is the problem to the current crisis and you will get more sympathy for your 'nice to do' projects.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Ron R. Harvey

Agreed! Our unique outdoor experiences are the surest investment we will ever have, and one that should be protected at all costs. balancing recreation with conservation should be our number one priority.

Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012
Article comment by: Save $$$--a dirt parking lot won't kill us

The number of days each year when the Goldwater Lake parking lot is at capacity is relatively few ---mostly just some summer weekends. A dirt parking lot to handle those instances of overflow parking could be constructed for next to nothing. Haven't you ever been to an event and parked in a dirt lot? Did you survive?!! Why does the Courier Editor encourage the spend-happy Council to continue spending our taxes dollars on these types of projects? And yet the Editor is silent when Council members suggest adding Library fees to the taxes we already pay for Library & Parks.

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