WHITE CITY, Ore. —The community of White City is working to find a place to cool off this summer. The splash pad at Burns Park isn’t operating, unless around $1500 can be raised to pay for the water.
This Burns Park Splash Pad usually keeps the White City community cool in summer. But this year, it sits dry on the hottest summer days.
“My wife noticed a while back that the water wasn’t turned on, she’s like why is it not turned on? That’s when I called the parks department,” said White City resident, Kurt Sather.
Jackson County Parks tells us the splash pad was previously maintained by the White City Community Improvement Association, but it dissolved a few years ago. It had a contract with county parks to operate and fund Burns Park through last December, but that funding has since run out.
This summer, that leaves the town’s only splash pad dry. Because Burns Park is not designated as a county park, it’s not part of the county parks system.
“Our funding mechanism for county parks, we generally fund our county parks program without property tax revenues, your property taxes do not go to your county parks system we fund them through the thing like user fees like boat ramps and camping, etc you can’t put a user fee on a little facility like Burns Park,” said Lambert. “There are no property taxes in White City to support those parks programs so they are currently unfunded,” he said.
Now residents are making a push to fundraise the money, to get the water flowing again.
“There’s not a lot of things to do for under 21’s and especially little kids, so it would be nice for them, it’s a general meeting area, we’ve had a lot of different activities that come here at the park and groups that do things and it just brings the community together,” said Sather.
Jackson County Roads and Parks Director, Steve Lambert says his department is all for turning the water back on if the funds can be raised. It estimates the cost to run the water is $800 a month.
“If and when he is able to successfully raise the funding we’re more than happy to meet with him and get the water turned back on,” said Lambert.
If the community gets $1 from every household, community leaders say it would be more than enough to cover it. To learn more about the initiative, visit the White City Community Awareness Group, on Facebook.