Bend Park & Recreation District offices

Bend Park & Recreation District offices. 

It’s hard not to admire the Bend Park & Recreation District’s discussion about a goal to ensure every Bend resident can walk to a park in a half mile or less.

It doesn’t matter if Bend has plenty of great parks unless they are easy for everyone to access. Only two-thirds of Bend residents currently live within a half mile of a park, as The Bulletin’s Brenna Visser reported. The district is also concerned that people can get to a park without making a dangerous road crossing.

How hard is it to meet that goal? What will it cost?

The district plans in the next 10 years one community park and 19 neighborhood parks. The funding will come from the district’s system development charges, totaling $50.4 million. That doesn’t provide for all the need, but it should work for the next 10 years, Sara Bodo, park planner told us. Board member Ariel Mendez added he wants to see a clearer definition of what the district means by a dangerous crossing. Would that be anywhere without a signaled crosswalk? Or what?

Bend has long had great parks. Is it financially smart for the district to stick to its traditional goals — such as 7.85 acres of neighborhood and community parks per 1,000 residents — as Bend’s population continues to grow? Ensuring every Bend resident can walk to a park in a half mile would be easier to hit.

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