Southeast of City Hall
Bend City Hall to the northwest – long inadequate to house all or even most city offices.
Bend-Lapine School District Offices to the south of City Hall
Deschutes County Library across Wall Street from City Hall
Troy Field for sale for $2.6 million – zoned commercial
The Bend City Council has made it official – they’re interested in buying the nearly one acre open-space area called Troy Field, immediately southeast of City Hall, kitty-corner across Bond Street.
The popular gathering and sports playing area has been for sale by the Bend-Lapine School District for quite a while and is zoned commercial, according to a ‘for sale’ sign on a baseball backstop at the northwest corner of the property.
There has been speculation for a number of years that the city might want to lay down its marker on the property in light of the fact that Bend City Hall is a fraction the size necessary to have an efficiently functioning city offices. Currently, office space has to be rented all over town just to house vital city functions.
At a Bend city budget committee meeting this past week City Manager Eric King said the city has been negotiating just the possibility of buying Troy Field – no firm timeline given. However King has said in the past it’s well past time for the city to provide city workers and the citizens of Bend a city hall municipal complex that is up to the job of efficiently getting the public’s work done. It’s also been noted that the current city hall buildng cannot accommodate council meetings for all the citizens who want to attend. Many citizens are exiled to outside hallways making them crane their ears to listen to what’s going on inside.
Those who plan for government facilities nationwide constantly note that any city hall must have the room for not only city workers to serve the public but also to provide a welcoming and engaging place for citizens to gather and engage city leaders to address the wants and needs of the community. City Manager Eric King says the current facility doesn’t do that.
City Councilor Victor Chudnowsky told Bend News Today that there is support to set aside $200,000 as earnest money to buy Troy Field from the school district although the city is not ready to make an offer or a timeline on such an offer. But it seems that the pace is picking up.
The question is also asked how such a purchase might affect the look and function of that part of downtown Bend. Within a stone’s throw of city hall is the school district offices and the Deschutes County Public Library. There are numerous parking lots as well. How all of these critical facilities might form a municipal complex – a “community center of gravity” – is likely being considered. Shared community meeting space, areas for staff conferences and other public gathering spaces could all be offered within short walking distances between the buildings.
There is also the attraction of having the community focused on this part of town where citizens want to be heard, to give their opinions on issues great and small in the “true heart of town,” as opposed to having them scattered all over the place.
Councilor Chudnowsky said he anticipates negotiations between the city and the school district will continue toward the goal of the city acquiring Troy Field in the not too distant future. Troy Field is currently used for various sporting and other outdoor events. As mentioned above it’s been on the market for some time – currently zoned for commercial. So either way the days of it remaining open space may be numbered no matter what.
Troy Field was the namesake of Troy Plumbing that occupied a shop on the east side. In the 1940s and 50s it was a popular sports field and would often double as a make-shift downtown ice skating rink in the winter as Bend Fire Department trucks would spray water on it to make an icy surface.