Parks & Rec gathers public input

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Members of the public had the opportunity Monday to weigh in on local recreation improvement projects during the Parks and Recreation Quality of Life Committee’s public workshop at Kerr McGee Center. The workshop was one of several ways city officials are attempting to gather information on what quality-of-life improvements local residents prioritize the most.

The Ridgecrest City Council recently agreed to look into establishing a parks assessment parcel tax to collect some $500,000 annually from local residents for the purpose of maintaining and improving the parks system.

“We were glad to get input from the community members who showed up, but we’re trying to keep this information out there and continue getting feedback from the community,” said City Manager Ron Strand.

While city officials were happy to see the residents streaming in and out of the Kerr McGee Center earlier this week, but they hope to get more public involvement so they can make informed decisions on where to spend funds.

“I think this is a good method, I just think we need to reach more people,” said Councilmember Lindsey Stephens. “We think having it during spring break may have affected the turnout. I think it would be good to get more feedback.”

The committee will discuss the results of the workshop during its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 4 p.m., at the Kerr McGee Center. They will also discuss the results of an online survey, which can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/parksassessmentsurvey.

“We’ll probably be making many more public presentations on this,” said Strand. “We want to figure out what’s important to people and what their priorities are.”

Stephens mentioned that the workshop voting board may go back on display the next time the city hosts a movie night at Freedom Park.

Most who attended the workshop prioritized additional soccer fields and baseball fields, refurbished bathrooms, kitchen and recreation areas at the Ridgecrest Senior Center and a reopened Pinney Pool.

Strand agreed that the city needs to get more public input before making any decisions. But even once projects are under way, the improvements aren’t set in stone.

If a parks assessment is put in place, there has to be a public hearing every year in order to renew it, and the parcel tax can always be lowered.

To stay updated, visit www.ridgecrest-ca.gov/recreation.

Story First Published: 2018-03-30