The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
the Times 

Waitsburg Parks and Recreation District changes focus

Parks and Rec Day is planned for July 13

 


WAITSBURG—In the process of developing its long-term plan, and in response to public input, the Waitsburg Parks and Recreation District has changed its focus from taking over maintenance of public facilities to providing more community recreation opportunities.

The District will kick things off with a Parks and Rec day on Sat., July 13 at Preston Park from 3-8 p.m. The evening will provide plenty of family fun, including lawn games such as horseshoes, ladder golf, lawn bowling and cornhole. The Granny’s Tamales food truck will be on site as well.

Parks and Recreation Board Chair Danielle Carpenter said the board has been meeting regularly to determine its scope of work.

She said the new board is a revitalization of the existing Waitsburg Parks and Recreation District Board which stopped meeting in 1993. Current board members include Carpenter, Secretary Justin Stegall, Wyatt Withers, Sandra Morrison and Dane Kiefel.

“We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do for the community and what our goals are,” Carpenter said. “At this point we hope to add activities, services and family fun events and the City will maintain its current responsibilities.”

The District hosted a couple of movie nights during the winter, but this will be the first big outdoor event. Carpenter is hopeful for good community support and a large turnout.

Carpenter said she recently wrote her first grant and received $800 from the Warren Community Action Fund through the Blue Mountain Community Foundation. Funds will be used to install three dog waste bag dispensers in town and to aid in the installation of a temporary dog park.

“That is the one thing we’ve had a lot of comments about. People want us to figure out something for their dogs,” Carpenter said.

She said she would love to see a permanent dog park installed near Waits Mill Park in the future, but the District is going to start out with a temporary park that could be open a couple of weekends a month.

Carpenter said the District is trying to do what they can to make an impact with little to no budget.

The District is currently in the process of determining what to request in the levy that will be on the November ballot. She said the taxing district is similar to the school district and encompasses much more than the City of Waitsburg.

“There are a lot of people that live out of town that don’t get reached by a lot of things happening in Waitsburg. I’m hoping that we can get the rural people into town to do some things. You have to have a reason to come into town when it takes 15-20 minutes to get here,” she said.

Carpenter said she anticipates a small levy request because the District is simply supplementing what is already happening.

“If the levy doesn’t pass, we’ll still be here, it just means we’ll have no budget to work with,” she said.

If the levy does pass, the District plans to prioritize lifeguard support to ensure the pool has staff for next year, as a guard shortage nearly resulted in a pool closure this year. Carpenter said the board wants to advertise early and make sure guard applicants know the District will help pay for certification classes.

She said she would also like to see if the District could donate funds to increase the hourly lifeguard pay rate to make the position more appealing.

Other possibilities under consideration include a family Halloween event at the fairgrounds, a downtown farmer’s market, and possibly even a sledding hill.

Of course, there are always logistics and liability issues to be worked out, Carpenter said.

She said an unofficial survey asking middle and high schoolers what would get them out of the house has been met with a recurrent theme. Food trucks.

Carpenter said she would love to have office space at City Hall where the board can keep paperwork in a central location and meet with people. She would also like to see the board hire an employee to help with paperwork, organizing events, marketing, and overseeing compliance.

The Waitsburg Park and Recreation Board meets the first and third Thursdays of each month in the high school band room at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend and offer input and feedback.

Interested parties can keep updated on the Waitsburg Parks and Rec Facebook page. Comments or ideas can be emailed to waitsburgparks@gmail.com or mailed to Parks and Rec, PO Box 52, Waitsburg, WA 99362.

 

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