Friday, March 10, 2017
The sun is out! As I soak in the beautiful warmth, I can’t help but start to believe that spring might actually be on its way. Wow! It’s been a long haul with the snow this winter. March 1st marks the beginning of panic month here at parks and rec. Our best laid plans from the winter months are now put to the test and we either sink or swim. The maintenance staff are busy beavers testing out irrigation systems and figuring out which pipes didn’t stand the test of the cold winter. They are also cleaning up all the debris that has been hidden for months under the ice and aerating the parks (no, it’s not goose poop out there, it’s just plugs from the ground!). Baseball is starting up, the squeaky swings are working out the winter rust, and Prineville is waking up from a long indoor hibernation. Ochoco Lake is looking great as the water level is rising quickly and the fishing is typically pretty good early in the season. The campground is scheduled to open the weekend of April 1st, so dust off the camping gear and get ready.
We have a number of goals for this year that I thought I would share with you. For starters, we are focused on evaluating options for building a new swimming pool. There has been a citizen advisory committee in place for over a year now, gathering community input on what Prineville wants in a new pool and comparing options of what we might be able to do here in Prineville. The CCPRD Board of Directors decided to conduct an official feasibility study and hired BLRB Architects out of Bend to do this for us. We are in the early stages of this process, but the questions we are seeking answers to are as follows: Is there any value in considering renovating the existing pool and adding a cover to it? How much would it cost to demolish the existing pool and build a new indoor one on the same footprint? How much would it cost to build a new indoor pool on a new suitable site? Everyone seems to have an opinion on where they think the new pool should be located. Location is a big deal, and we definitely want the citizens to have a part in that decision. However, figuring out what our affordable options are is where we currently are in this process. More to come soon on that…
Another iron that is still hot in the fire is that we are still trying to get funding in place to expand the skate park and renovate the surface of the old Ochoco Creek Park tennis courts and set them up for some serious Pickleball. Last year we applied for a Local Government Grant from the state and although we were not successful, we were very close. We are working on round 2 and are hoping that we can move forward with this project this fall.
Last, but certainly not least, we are shifting gears and picking up speed with recreation programs. I am pleased to announce two new faces to the District. Eli Tomlinson has joined us as the Recreation Coordinator. Eli brings a vast background in outdoor recreation, summer camps, and pretty much anything that you can associate with fabulous fun. Keep an eye on what CCPRD is offering this summer; you won’t want to miss out. Matt Vaughan has been hired to take the reigns as the Sports Coordinator for the District. This is a new position for us since we want to change how we approach sports. Up until this point, Parks and Recreation has expected the sports leagues to contribute a significant amount of time and effort maintaining the infields and getting them in shape every year. In return CCPRD has not charged leagues to play. Although this has worked to a certain extent, the fact of the matter is people are busy and there is only so much folks are willing to do. We certainly appreciate the help, but we are no longer going to put such a heavy weight on volunteers. Matt is going to make sure the fields stay in good shape, as well as keep everything organized. He is already scheduling field use for Little League and travel ball teams. We hope to expand the sports offering that CCPRD offers and we are looking forward to serving this community in new ways this year.
Duane Garner – Executive Director
Crook County Parks and Recreation District