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Budgets, donations and fun: the state of ARD

Another View
By: Kahl Muscott ARD District Administrator
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Summer is our busiest time of year at the Auburn Area Recreation and Park District (ARD). This is the time of year that we spend months preparing for and months cleaning up from. It is our “Big Game,” and we are excited to be playing (we’re Recreation and Parks people — we love to play!). If you have not had a chance to visit our parks, pools and facilities, come on by. As always, it is our pleasure to serve you. Outside of the fun ARD is having this summer, your Recreation and Parks District is relatively calm, especially considering the economic times we are living in. The following is a brief highlight of some of the major issues at ARD. Budget considerations: Through prudent fiscal practices, the district has been able to avoid big hits to the services we provide for the community. This may change if the State of California “borrows” a percentage of our property taxes in fiscal year 2009/2010. On the state budget table is the possibility of the state borrowing 8 percent of our property tax revenues, the equivalent of $202,000 in ARD’s budget. Unfortunately, we will not know if this borrowing will happen until the State Legislature passes a budget. Board members and staff are currently looking at all options to help us weather the economic storm. Options include cutting employee costs, reductions in the size and availability of the activity guide and adjusting funding sources for scheduled projects. We are also exploring ways to increase our revenue, using some of our abundant creativity to offer and promote ARD’s myriad programs and facilities. In the meantime, ARD will continue to budget conservatively and we will ultimately weather this storm and remain a viable organization. Shockley property: Much has been made of this donation from the Shockley Trust. The facts of the donation are as follows: • Trust documents stipulated that the property is to be used as a park to be named “Nobel Laureate William B. Shockley and his wife Emmy L. Shockley Memorial Park.” • Trust documents stipulated that the primary use of the park/property will be for passive activities. • $50,000 was also donated to be used to establish and maintain the park/property. • The ARD board voted to accept this donation in March of 2009. Currently, ARD is working with the Placer County Resource Conservation District to create a management plan for the property. This plan will include information on how the property is to be maintained for fuel loads, wildlife and watershed issues. Future plans for maintaining the property for fuel load and general maintenance may include the use of volunteers, nearby homeowners, and ARD staff, with the possibility of grant funding helping to pay for these tasks. Upcoming projects at Recreation Park: ARD is currently finalizing plans for two very exciting projects at Recreation Park. The first is the renovation and modernization of the locker rooms and lifeguard facilities. The locker rooms have not been updated or renovated since their construction, estimated to be sometime in the 1960s. These locker rooms sit in the middle of two of ARD’s busiest facilities — the gymnasium and Sierra Pool. This long-overdue renovation will fix electrical, plumbing and structural issues, as well as make the facility compliant with ADA standards. It will also make it a much more attractive facility thus enhancing the public’s desire to use the gym or pool and it will make a more presentable area for visitors that come to our community for competitions. The second project is the construction of a ¾-mile loop trail around the park. This asphalt trail will not only provide a wonderful source of exercise and fresh air for users, it will allow access to underutilized sections of the park and make several facilities accessible under ADA standards. For over 60 years, ARD has provided the community with some of the finest parks, programs and events available anywhere, and I am happy to say that we will continue to offer these services for years to come. ARD offers so many opportunities to participate, whether it is in a class, league, and special event or at the board level. For more information on your Recreation and Parks District, please visit our Web site at www.auburnrec.com, or better yet, stop by and see us. We always welcome visitors.