Parks Department Director Don Robertson is asking the Parks Commission to give him direction about which way to proceed on the issue of how to come up with money to buy park land on Clay Street.

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission will look at two possibilities for paying for land on Clay Street to provide a park for that part of town.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Ashland Civic Center, 1175 E. Main St.

An earlier proposal was to sell off two acres of the park department's 10-acre Westwood property in Ashland's hills. But neighbors and other residents who value the undeveloped Westwood land have objected to selling a portion of the property to pay for a park on Clay Street.

On Nov. 4, the Ashland City Council voted to acquire 10 acres on Clay Street for an affordable housing project. The council agreed to set aside some of the land for a possible park. It gave the Parks Commission two years to come up with a funding method.

"In essence, the council is creating a window that allows us to explore renewal of the Food and Beverage Tax," Parks Department Director Don Robertson told parks commissioners in a Nov. 19 memo.

That tax on restaurant meals sunsets in 2010. Money from the tax funds sewage plant upgrades and park land purchases. All the projected park revenue from the tax is already earmarked to pay for past park land purchases. To have money to buy more park land, the tax would have to be renewed by city voters.

Robertson is asking the Parks Commission to give him direction about which way to proceed on the issue of how to come up with money to buy park land on Clay Street.

If the parks department does not find money to buy some of the Clay Street land from the city, the city will sell the portion set aside for a park in order to recoup money.

Buying 3.75 acres of Clay Street land would cost the parks department $1.35 million.

The city and the Jackson County Housing Authority used cash and land valued at $3.6 million to buy the 10 acres on Clay Street.

In other business Monday night, the Parks Commission will consider whether to rename the Darex Family Ice Rink the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink and accept a $50,000 donation from the Rotary Club to help fund reconstruction of the aging rink. The "Centennial" in the new name would refer to Lithia Park's 100th anniversary this year.

The Parks Commission will also hear an update on the ice rink's reconstruction, which is underway.

Additionally, the commission will hear a report on policies governing the installation of signs and plaques in parks.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. To post a comment, visit www.dailytidings.com.