Have you ever stopped to wonder just what exactly Crook County Parks and Recreation District does, how many people work here, how much money we have to work with, or how far the services reach into Crook County? Over the years, I have repeatedly been asked these questions. This month I thought I would turn my attention to painting an over-all picture of the District.
First off I must admit that our name is very confusing. “Crook County Parks and Recreation District” is not a department of Crook County, nor is our service area anywhere close to the size of Crook County. Prior to 1984, all of the parks in Prineville were managed by the City of Prineville. In 1984, a Special Service District was formed by a vote of the people. This newly formed District was voted into existence for the sole purpose of taking care of the city parks and pool, and to begin providing recreation programs to the community. The creation of this special district provided dedicated funding for parks and recreation through an additional property tax on the properties that were within the taxable boundaries. The boundaries that were adopted back then corresponded with the old Fire District boundaries, and are still the same today. They are just slightly larger than the city limits of Prineville. The tax rate that was imposed then is also still the same today at $0.75 per $1000 of assessed value of your home. There are roughly 8600 taxable properties currently in the CCPRD. Our annual budget is about $1 million, however only about $745,000 of that amount comes from property taxes. The District is governed by a five member board that is elected by the people that live within the District boundaries.
There are 15 parks in our District, two of which are campgrounds. Ochoco Lake Campground and the Crook County RV Park both make a profit and this helps offset expenses in the parks, thus making up the additional revenue reflected in our annual budget. The campgrounds are also subsidized by the State of Oregon through RV licensing fees. There are also funds that come in from the Oregon State Marine Board to help offset the cost of running the day use area, boat ramp, and parking area of Ochoco Lake. The Marine Board helps fund new facilities, maintenance of existing facilities, and law enforcement. We do have other misc. revenue from recreation programs, but the rec programs pretty much just pay for themselves (not including staff time).
Here’s a bit of trivia…can you name the 13 Prineville parks? Could you locate them in town? The names of our parks are the following: Crooked River Park (Les Schwab Fields), Rimrock Park, Davidson Field, Gervais Park (Library Park), Harwood Park, Kilowatt Field, Yellowpine Park, Ochoco Creek Park, Prineville Bike Park, Old Stryker Field, Pioneer Park, Ward Park (Stryker ll Field), and Mountain View Park.
We have 11 employees that have consistent hours all year (not all full time) and up to 35 employees during the busy season. In the office, there is the Director (myself), Business Manager-Cassy Sykes, Recreation Coordinator- Eli Tomlinson, Sports Coordinator—Matt Vaughn, Office Assistant – Arlyce Perkins. At the RV Park office, we have our Manager—Karen Smith and Office Assistant—Kim Hatfield. In the Parks Maintenance Department, we have Parks Supervisor – Larry Penington, Mechanic – Bill Siers, Irrigation Tech – Corey Lopez, Grounds Maintenance – Linda Sharp. We hire many other individuals in seasonal positions that work tremendously hard to keep everything up and going. The parks crew cleans 17 restrooms 7 days a week, mows 100 acres of lawn once to twice per week, runs our garbage service 3 days per week (we have our own garbage truck), prepares for events in the parks and picks up the pieces afterward. There are literally 1000’s of sprinkler heads in the parks and hundreds of them have to be dug up and replaced every year. Most of the parks have their own pump and filtration systems that require regular attention. Once you add up all the electrical systems, fresh water systems, septic systems, irrigation systems, buildings and grounds, you have plenty of maintenance projects to keep everyone hopping!
The pool is in a category all of its own. Every day the pool requires an extensive check of all the chemicals and the mechanical system. While the pool is in use, the chlorine and PH are checked every 2 hours. We have Michael Estes and Jacob Hehn co-managing the pool this season, Halley Estes is heading up the swim lessons, while Larry Penington is the certified pool operator. There are about 15 lifeguards that work from June – August. During the school year, we also run a roller skating rink on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Pioneer School Gym.
We always have a project going on as well. For years now we have been updating our irrigation systems and making them automated. The south side of Ochoco Creek Park is the last one that we still hand-set and run during the day. Many of you will be pleased to know that we will start replacing this old system this fall and once we are done, it will water at night. Likely it will take us two seasons to complete this project, so please be patient! At the Crook County RV Park, we are finishing up the building of a laundry facility and meeting room for the guests to use. We have done a lot of this work ourselves, while sub-contracting out some of the technical aspects.
Hopefully this gives you a general, overall view of how your tax dollars are being spent. We strive to provide the best quality service we can to this community and are so thankful for your support. Please check out our website at www.ccprd.org for classes, programs, RV camping reservations, and general info. Like us on Facebook and receive regular updates!
Crook County Parks and Recreation District