Camas Community Recreation Center
During the past five years, a variety of community-based constituents and stakeholders have been actively engaged in dialogue about the possibility and the viability of building a new community center.
In 2007, the Community Center Short Range Planning Committee (SRPC) met together with local architects, engineers and other community organizers to determine the viability of a joint Camas Washougal Community Center. While original discussions focused on the possibility of a center being built on the Washougal River greenway in between the two communities, Washougal leadership later decided to concentrate their resources on Washougal -based economic concerns.
Citizens in Camas, as well as the other community stakeholders, recognized that a considerable amount of interest was still vibrant in the community and that substantial volunteer energy had been expended to explore a new community center.
The SRPC recommended that a Community Center Development Committee be formed to continue exploring the many viable ways a community center could be built with both private and public funds.
The current focus of CCDC is to build on the work of the 2007 committees. The programs and size received community support and we feel that these needs have not changed over the last 5 years. However, we believe that private fundraising cannot proceed until a public commitment for funding has been made. Do to the complexity of working with different governmental agencies and taxing districts, CCDC has concentrated our initial feasibility study on the City of Camas only. However, it is likely that the ultimate success in providing funding for the new Center will require support from other local organizations and units of government. The priority programs being considered by CCDC include:
- An indoor aquatics center featuring a leisure recreation pool
- Community room meeting space
- Multi-purpose rooms for arts, crafts, clubs and seniors
- Child watch
- Exercise & fitness programs
Camas Community Center History
Our current community center began life as a school house called Oak Park School. The Camas Public School District built the structure in 1916, and it housed the first kindergarten in the city as well as classes for grades 1-5. Newer schools were built in the district and Oak Park School was decommissioned in 1962. The Camas-based Tidland Corporation bought the building in the mid ‘60s and used the upper floor as office space for their entire sales force. The facility was sold to the City of Camas in 1985.
The 95 year-old community center has been renovated and upgraded several times over the years, and offers meeting rooms, a large multipurpose room and administrative offices for the Camas Parks and Recreation Department. Historically and presently, the center is used by an east county population consisting of both Washougal and Camas Residents. Whether utilized for music programs or wedding celebrations the Camas Community Center has been consistently busy, and considered a vital hub for social, recreational and health-related programming for seniors, pre-schoolers, adults and high school students. Unfortunately, it cannot accommodate the increased interest in local community-based activities and the need for affordable community meeting space for local organizations and Camas families.