Nyssa native seeks to spearhead greenbelt, bike path project

NYSSA – Alison Maglaughlin believes in big ideas and that a group of properly motivated people can achieve any goal.
That’s why the Nyssa native said she is excited about the feedback she’s received regarding the creation of a greenbelt bike pathway for the city that bills itself as the Thunderegg Capital of the World.
“A few people said they wanted bike paths and we are right on the river and don’t take advantage of it,” said Maglaughlin.
Maglaughlin has called The Netherlands home for the past few years but said her thoughts are never far from Nyssa.
When she returned to Nyssa in September to attend a class reunion she looked around and decided “I would stay for a good long while and do some volunteer work and see how I can help the community.”
Maglaughlin said as she talked to residents, she realized there was a need to upgrade the city parks.
“Everyone was saying they were sad about what was going on in the parks, that they are depressing. Other people were saying there was nothing to do,” said Maglaughlin.
Maglaughlin put up an online survey to find out what people really wanted to see in Nyssa in terms of recreation.
Maglaughlin said people reported in the 25 responses she got that they wanted better parks, events for families and a laundry mat.
The idea for a greenbelt bike path evolved, partly, from her time in Holland where biking from one place to another is common.
“I got used to cycling everywhere and I thought about how it is free and a good outdoor activity for everybody. For a small town, it made sense, especially if you are going to more than one spot in town. They’re all near one another and that’s the idea, to keep money in Nyssa,” said Maglaughlin.
She said a greenbelt bike path was mentioned specifically by several people as a potential way to enhance the community.
“It’s been tried before, about five years ago. That’s another reason I decided to take it up,” said Maglaughlin.
She scheduled a meeting with Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager, and Mayor Betty Holcomb.
“I met with them and relayed what everyone was asking about the parks and toward the end of the meeting they were like ‘Want a project? Do the greenbelt thing,’” said Maglaughlin.
Maglaughlin said the city already budgeted $50,000 for bike paths and those funds could help trigger more work on the project.
Maglaughlin said she understands a greenbelt bike path is “a very big project.”
“I know it is a five- to 10-year thing. My plan is first I want to garner support and get a list of people who support it,” said Maglaughlin.
A potential role by the city in the creation of a greenbelt with bike paths is crucial, said Maglaughlin. The city can apply for grants to help propel the greenbelt idea.
“If we put together a plan and apply to the state of Oregon, if we try enough times, I know we can get one,” said Maglaughlin.
Maglaughlin said her vision – a series of bike paths and a greenbelt – would benefit the city.
“I think it is better to have a network. Start in Nyssa and then web out and connect to Adrian and Ontario eventually,” she said.
Maglaughlin said she presented her plan to the Nyssa City Council in October. The feedback, she said, was mixed.
“(Councilor) Robert Escobedo actually took a moment to verbally say ‘I support you.’” said Maglaughlin.
She said, however, there was “some hesitation” by other council members.
Maglaughlin said she will continue to try to coordinate with the city on her plan.
“Let’s start on the property the city and county own. This is a 10-year plan. But let’s work with the budget we have now in a smart way,” said Maglaughlin.
Calls to Maret and Halcomb for comment were not returned.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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