Any long journey always begins with a first step, and the first step requires a goal.
The city of Bingen, with unanimous support from the Bingen City Council, has hired an urban design firm from Seattle to create a "master plan" for Bingen's Daubenspeck Park. Included in the planning will be the outline of a proposed community center.
Bingen Mayor Brian Prigel said Makers Architecture & Urban Design will handle the planning process for the city of Bingen.
"We accepted proposals from five consulting firms, and chose two of them for interviews, and Makers was chosen," Prigel said. "We were impressed with Makers' presentation and experience, and we think they'll do really well interacting with the public."
The contract is for an amount "not to exceed $25,000."
The cost will be mostly covered by a grant from the Klickitat County Economic Development Authority, which earlier authorized a grant of $20,000 for the planning effort.
The remaining $5,000 will be covered out of the city's community development funds.
Bingen already has a general vision of where it wants to go, but needs help in getting there, according to Prigel.
"We have the basic concepts," Prigel explained. "They will do a survey of stakeholders, and do a design workshop with the public."
According to Prigel, the idea is for Makers to come up with a solid master plan for the park and for the long-envisioned community center.
"That's where we're headed," Prigel said. "It will be a general planning document, not construction documents. They will look at the park area and options for a skate park and a covered basketball court, those kinds of things."
Prigel said members of the City Council recently set the building of skateboard facility as a priority for the park.
"We've committed money to a skate park, but we need to see where it will go and how it fits in with everything else," Prigel explained.
John Owen, one of the partners behind Makers, sent a letter to the city of Bingen describing how the overall park planning process would work.
"Our approach emphasizes working closely with Bingen citizens in a creative participatory process," Owen wrote. "We propose to conduct most of the key visioning and design development in concert with participants in Bingen. We will then refine the community's ideas and preferences into a design package -- with costs and implementation recommendations -- that will build public support and assist funding efforts."