April 4, 2013

By Staff

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Parks Commission changes are good for the city, council

There is no denying that the Newcastle Parks Commission has gone through a whirlwind of change in the past year.

In August 2012, the number of parks commissioners was reduced from nine to seven, making it easier for the group to reach the necessary quorum for meeting attendance.

At the beginning of the year, Andrew Shelton, a longtime parks commissioner, resigned after he received a job opportunity in another state. Shelton had served on the Parks Commission since its inception.

In March, the Parks Commission underwent a dramatic overhaul led by Mayor Rich Crispo. Through the process, the volunteer advisory board was effectively rebranded as the Community Activities Commission.

That was not the only change, though. The City Council also added a council liaison to the commission, reserved two seats on the commission for representatives from Newcastle Trails and the Newcastle Historical Society, and clarified the board’s duties.

Along the way, Peggy Price and Koleen Morris resigned from the commission, leaving the board with only four members.

That’s a lot of turmoil for both the council and a group of volunteers to shoulder over the year, but ultimately, once things are settled, the changes should prove beneficial to the city and most importantly, the council.

The commission is an advisory body to the council, and if the council is not getting what it needs out of the commission, it should do what it can to make changes. The council did just that, instituting bold changes that should make the commissioners happier and the board more effective.

The rebranded Community Activities Commission seems like a fun, inviting opportunity for residents to get involved in their local government. The stronger focus on community events will hopefully infuse the commission with a much-needed boost of enthusiasm, while making the city’s events, such as Newcastle Days, even better.

The council is currently seeking volunteers to fill out the Community Activities Commission. If you’re interested in helping facilitate community events and programs, then consider applying for a commission position. Applications can be found on the city’s website at www.ci.newcastle.wa.us.


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