Oak Harbor: Parks efforts need rethinking
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:19 PM
John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool is one of the gems of Oak Harbor. However, the board of parks commissioners is messing with a good thing. The North Whidbey Park District is the pool, Cloverdale playing field, plus a piece of undeveloped property. What the commissioners want to do is start a recreation program for children and youth that the City of Oak Harbor has failed to do. These are good intentions.
But, there is not plan, there is no money for this and the facilities they plan to use do not belong to them.
The idea is this, with start up money of $5,000 from the pools maintenance and operations, the series of programs would be self-sustaining by charging fees to the children and using, in a large part, volunteers.
This is a bad premise to start with. Ive worked for the Seattle Parks and Recreation for over 30 years and have been a home owner in Oak Harbor for the last ten years. Also, as past president of the INRPA (International Parks and Recreation Association) all the park agencies that I know of charged adults for recreation and the kids played for free.
There is no community center, there is not in place an agreement for the use of city parks and there is no written agreement between the park district and the school district. Lets not charge kids $40 to 70 to play basketball. And why run a summer day program at City Beach Park ( and charge for it) when its in direct competition to the YMCA? The commissioners also want to resurrect a crafts program that already failed through the city.
Lets not start something that we cannot do well, or cannot finish. Keep the very professional staff at the pool doing their jobs. Jim Shulock, Sally Mauer, Tim and the rest of the staff do a tremendous job.
The Parks District commissioners are only answerable to the voters and that is why I am writing this. I do not think they are listening.