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Board announces changes to fee structure, future focus on district upgrades

COURTESY OF CCPRD - CCPRD logoGreetings from the Crook County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors.

In the past years, Prineville has been well served by our executive director, Duane Garner, who recently departed Prineville for new opportunities in Texas. We are so grateful for Duane's diligence in providing a firm foundation for our growth as we look toward the next 10 years. We are also grateful for the team Duane left us: Parks Supervisor Larry Penington, Business Manager Donna DeHaan and Accounting Specialist Cassy Sykes. We are confident that we are in good hands while we search for a new executive director and introduce that new person to our community and the scope of their new job. We wanted to continue to keep in touch with you through this column, as there is still plenty going on during this interim.

In case you didn't know, Crook County Parks and Recreation is not a county institution. We are a special district, like the fire district, with our own boundaries, and our parks and projects are funded directly from the taxes collected from households in our district. If you live within our district, your taxes are supporting the maintenance of our parks, our pool and supplementing the fees for our programs. That means that if you live outside our district boundaries, you are using our services for free. In the past, our online registration didn't allow a determination of in-district or out-of-district locations, so we have not charged differently if you lived out of our district. That is about to change. As of April 1, if you live outside of our tax district boundaries, you will be charged a different fee for our programs, 25% more. Even if you live outside our district now, it is possible for a homeowner to opt into it at any time and soon, we will be asking for a vote to increase our tax district to include more Crook County neighborhoods.

In 2020, we joined with the City of Prineville to create a Unified Parks and Recreation System Plan that addresses the needs of the community during the next 10 years. Creating this plan included statistically valid community surveys, community workshops and information gathering sessions with the city council, the Crook County Court and the Parks and Rec employees and board. The plan identified these high priorities:

• Establish the Crooked River Corridor as a hub for recreation

• Create the Foundation's Interactive Playground at Stryker Park

• Address ADA accessibility issues at existing parks

• Expand infrastructure for bicycle tourism

• Replace the existing pool, which is nearing the end of its planned life

• Embrace connections to water

• Expand existing recreation currently in development: Ochoco Creek Park, bike park, Seehale and 12th Street properties, additional pickleball courts, expansion of indoor recreation, gyms, indoor pickleball, indoor pool.

We, as the Board of Directors, see this list as our roadmap, our journey for the future. As our community grows, we want to be sure to do our work well and to plan as well as possible, so that the values that make Prineville special to us are not lost in the process. We are excited for the days ahead, as we carry forward the work that has made our parks so special.


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