Dreads decline of Parks and Rec.

To the Editor:

I believe that the Parks and Recreation Department is a vital part of our city government. The activities offered through Parks and Rec. provide kids of all backgrounds the opportunity to participate in activities that promote a safe community. However, the current financial crisis in city government makes me fear for the future of Parks and Recreation in our community.

My children have participated in Parks and Rec. programs since their preschool days. They began with a wonderful preschool experience and continued on through summer day camp, swimming lessons, cooking lessons, art lessons, cheerleading lessons, volleyball lessons and soccer and basketball teams. They enjoyed some activities more than others, but throughout their participation, they learned about themselves, other people and the community they live in.

Although children do not understand the governmental and financial mechanisms that make these kinds of programs available to them, they benefit from them and learn by working with others in these programs.

My husband and I have been reading articles in the local newspapers for a long time now, which indicate the financial struggles of our city government and the implications of those struggles for the Parks and Recreation Department.

After the most recent election, we might have thought that support for Parks and Rec. would increase rather than decline, but after reading more articles in December and January, it became clear to me that additional factors have led to a financial crisis which threatens the Parks and Recreation Department in particular.

I believe that many people in Ridgecrest understand the importance of the Parks and Recreation Department to the children in our community. Many of these people are not currently attending City Council meetings because they have busy lives, but I feel the need to encourage these people to get involved. If we don’t, decisions made in the next nine months, in a time of crisis, may take away not only opportunities from our children but also the kind of community that we have taken for granted in the past.

Saving the Parks and Recreation Department is something that we must work on together. The task ahead offers significant challenge.

Please join me in contacting our city council members, in attending city council meetings and in making your voices heard.

Nadine H. Steichen

Story First Published: 2013-02-20