Thursday, February 08, 2007
By JOSE PAUL CORONA Columbian staff writer
BATTLE GROUND â€“ Outdoor sports activities will fuel economic development in the city and will help turn it into a Clark County destination, Mayor John Idsinga said during his State of the City speech Wednesday night.
Idsinga discussed the various projects that will attract outdoor enthusiasts as images of people hiking, running and skateboarding were projected on a large screen.
â€œWe are still the city of focus,â€ Idsinga said as he began his speech. His theme: â€œForging an Extreme Future.â€
Residential growth may have slowed, but Battle Ground continues to be the countyâ€™s second largest city. Mixed use and other types of development are adding to the city’s profile, he said.
The cityâ€™s skatepark, under construction, and the planned Battle Ground Sports Complex will benefit city and county residents, he said.
The 25,000-square-foot skate park will have a variety of features and will accommodate skateboarders of all levels.
The cityâ€™s sports complex will feature six baseball fields for children and adults as well as other amenities. Sixty acres of land will be preserved and developed. That area will feature a system of walking trails and interpretive stations that everyone in Clark County can enjoy, Idsinga said. Ground is set to be broken sometime later this year, he added.
A anticipated 86,000-square-foot indoor motocross building could be another facility that will benefit city and county residents, Idsinga said.
And thanks to numerous volunteers, the cityâ€™s planned 13,000-square-foot library is 80 percent funded, he said to loud applause.
The library will only add to the community’s potential. Construction will begin later this year, he said.
Idsinga’s speech came on a night when Battle Ground learned it had passed a three-year school levy.
â€œOur schools and our children are the foundation to our success,â€ he said to applause.
â€œThis community is based on volunteerism,â€ Idsinga said shortly before wrapping up his 30-minute speech.
As he prepared to leave the lectern, the composed and upbeat mayor asked his wife how long he talked. “Thirty minutes,” she said.
â€œI’m glad thatâ€™s over,â€ he said with a laugh.
While he read from a prepared speech, he admitted to tinkering with it all day long.
Idsinga said he couldnâ€™t help it.
Itâ€™s huge for a mayor to be acknowledging skateboarding as part of his administration’s commitment to future community success. This is the most visionary and impressive comment weâ€™ve heard from an elected official to date. â€“ SPS