The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce is fundraising to support the Coulee Area Parks & Recreation District.
The year 2020/2021 was unprecedented, with COVID-19 affecting every aspect of our lives. The Coulee Area Park and Recreation District (CAPRD) continues to manage North Dam Park & Event Center. CAPRD volunteered to manage the park as no single city or town government could budget for the overall costs related to the maintenance and operation of the park. CAPRD seeks lodging tax funding from three municipal governments for this purpose. Currently have a matching grant with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for park maintenance and operation. Over the past few years, CAPRD was given more responsibility by the BOR, which increased our overall costs, especially utilities. CAPRD commissioners work to keep expenses as low as possible while maintaining North Dam Park at a high standard for all to enjoy.
Our request is strictly for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) of North Dam Park & Event Center. North Dam Park &Event Center is the only regional park that serves all our communities. There were no events at North Dam Park in 2020, and we held limited events in 2021. The events that are hosted there are our region's major tourism events. The annual Colorama Festival, Koulee Kids Fest, and Harvest Festival are all held in North Dam Park.
Additionally, the regional Adult Softball League and regional Little League teams play seasonal ball on the two ball fields. For three years, we've hosted the Native Arts Show as well. Service clubs and other organizations, school reunions and families use the park annually for their particular uses on a reservation system.
Year-round hiking, running, biking, walking and winter sleddings are ongoing events for our local citizens and out-of-town visitors. The Disc Golf Course is used regularly both by local citizens and visitors. The Skateboard Park gets regular use as well as remote-controlled toy cars, and it is a bicycle riding learning center of sorts as well. The Gehrke Windmill Garden is located in the park and is now maintained by CAPRD. The windmill garden is currently listed on the Washington State Heritage Register. This recognition of the Gehrke Windmill Garden has attracted tourists from several states and nations. Also, the park has Geocache sites, and these caches attract tourists participating in geocaching activities.
Without this park, our community will suffer. Without funding from the USBR grant, CAPRD will be forced to give the park back to the USBR, which means maintenance of the park will be no more. In the long run, what does this mean? Events will have to go through the USBR and their permitting process, maintenance will be left to the USBR (remember ten years ago?), and the possibility that if their pumping plant comes, we will lose the park in its entirety.
The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce has long-term goals to help the Coulee Area Parks and Recreation District with grant writing for long-term solutions. The IMMEDIATE problem is that CAPRD needs $10,000 to maintain the park until the end of the year, or it will be forced to close its doors on August 15th, 2022. We know our community can come together; let's save our park!