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Sunriver's Water Fun Hides Troubled Past

By Matt McDonald
Published On: Jun 14 2012 08:16:13 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 14 2012 08:25:28 AM CDT
SUNRIVER, Ore. -

The outdoor portion of the Sunriver Homeowners Aquatic and Recreation Center just opened, and it's already award-winning. But the award has nothing to do with the three pools, lazy river, two water slides or year-round sledding hill.

It's about what you don't see -- a solution to a serious environmental problem buried underneath the facility fondly known as "SHARC."

"This is a parking lot, one of two large parking lots, but this one in particular was designed to help encapsulate a former asbestos contamination zone,? said Brooke Snavely, communications director for the Sunriver Homeowners Association.

The asbestos is a leftover from Sunriver's past as Camp Abbot, a WWII military training compound. Bits and pieces used to poke out of the ground.

"We decided instead of excavating it, which would have cost a fortune, what if we kept it in place and covered it?? said Snavely.

It's an award-winning idea. Topped with orange fabric, 10 inches of soil and base rock, the effort to contain the asbestos earned the homeowners association a "brownfields" award, a statewide recognition of a good way to deal with hazardous materials.

For the Sunriver homeowners who agreed to spend over $4,200 apiece, the new community center kills two birds with one stone.

"It's been something the owners have wanted for decades. And for it to finally happen, it has taken some owners to the point of tears,? said Snavely.

The center is open to the public, at $25 for adults, $20 for kids 4-17 and free for kids under 3 or seniors over 60. If the weather ooperates, the outdoor water park will be open through Labor Day.

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