The Baker City Council was wise to get around to appointing a parks and recreation advisory board.
The Council's decision to set up the seven-member volunteer board (councilors will appoint the members later this year) wasn't belated.
But it was getting close.
After all, in just the past decade the city has built the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway and acquired the two-acre property along the Powder River where the new Central Park is under construction.
Combine those additions with the city's existing parks - the largest
and best-known being Geiser-Pollman - and there's a significant amount
of public parkland to oversee.
Plenty enough to warrant having a committee, composed of local
residents, to help advise city staff and the City Council about how
best to manage that property and, potentially, to consider adding to
the parks system.
It's not that the Council is incapable of overseeing the parks.
But with such an important, and well-used, public asset, we agree that
there should be meaningful involvement by other residents who aren't
That's why, to name just a few, the city already has a tree board, an airport commission and a public works advisory committee.
The membership of the parks and recreation board, as set by ordinance,
is appropriately local. Six of the seven members must live within the
city limits (one of those six must be a city councilor). One member may
live outside the city limits, but he or she must live in Baker County.
It's possible that the new board might eventually have its duties
expanded to cover a property tax-funded parks and recreation district
that could encompass not only parks, but other public facilities such
as Sam-O Swim Center.
No such district has been officially proposed. But if it happens - and
we'd say it's a distinct possibility - at least the basis for a
governing board will be in place.