A small town is like a child. As much as we hate to see them grow up and change, it’s a necessary part of life, not to mention inevitable. Asking your kids not to grow and even taking steps to prevent that growth is ridiculous and detrimental.
Deer Park is growing. As one of the biggest small towns in Washington state, Deer Park is becoming the proverbial teenager that must decide what she wants to be when she grows up. If Deer Park doesn’t decide how to grow, someone else may decide for her.
There is the parental and sentimental sadness that comes with watching a child grow up (or a small town); however, if we are held back by fear of change we will miss the wondrous joy of new opportunity. As a parent, I’ve learned that as my children grow and change, they are still my children, and many of my favorite things about them stay the same, or get better. There are even times I discover new favorite things as they become their own person.
How Fast Is Deer Park Growing?
Growth is happening and will assuredly continue. School district and city employees see it on the horizon and some are vigilant in preparing for it.
New developments in Deer Park Meadows and Haven Heights, as well as other places, will see the building of more than 200 housing units in the coming months. New commercial sites have also been added.
The school district superintendent,Travis Hanson, organized a Community Facilities Committee to address future school building needs, and regularly updates a facilities plan to anticipate future growth.
Shauna Ferguson, Deer Park School District’s Business Manager, stated that, “We’ve been experiencing slow and steady growth and last year we had an uptick in that.” Ferguson went on to explain that there was a large increase in enrollment at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, but this year’s numbers have returned to a more normal growth pattern. “With the new houses being built we anticipate more growth in the future, but right now it’s slow and steady.”
On the flipside, the City of Deer Park’s government hasn’t seen significant change to its number of personnel for a long time. No office positions have been added in at least thirteen years, and two of the current City Council members have each served for two decades. However, this year’s elections will bring a dramatic shift to the ages of Deer Park’s Council; additionally, after decades of service, several key city employees are due to retire within the next few years.
Deer Park Moving Forward
Though several individuals and groups throughout Spokane County have ideas about what our town’s maturation should look like, Deer Park is still the little sister that is often overlooked or forgotten. Deer Park citizens still have the ability and need to set the course for our city.
With or without guidance, the child will grow up; will we help her find the path? Our direction of growth is still open. We have to be active, create a plan, and follow through. The citizens of Deer Park need to become unified in a vision for her expansion.
Deer Park’s personality is strong. The people who live here take care of each other; as long as we remain good neighbors, no matter how big our city gets, it will always be a “small town.”
One of the groups working hard to help Deer Park move with purpose into the future is the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s Board of Directors is planning a community forum called “Building A Remarkable Community” for November 18th at Lofty Skies. More on that coming soon.
If you want a say in Deer Park’s direction, there are a few simple steps:
- City Council, Mayor, School Board, County Commissioners are all important positions to pay attention to.
- Attend meetings
- Attending clubs, community and local government organizations is a great way to see and help shape Deer Park’s future.
- There are many great events in Deer Park that require volunteers to continue.
- Ask Questions
- Being inquisitive, sometimes, is the only way to acquire the knowledge required to make good decisions. Seek out government officials, and community leaders for the answers you need.
What do you think the future of Deer Park should be? Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor on our Facebook page.
If you want to learn more, you can view Deer Park’s 2017 Comprehensive plan here: DPGazette.com/dpcomp2017