Members of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Board of Directors could be evaluating the addition of a new building or buildings, Executive Director Skyler Archibald said.
“A lot of this is in the really early stages of developing,” Archibald said of a facility plan. “We really need more indoor recreation space for our fitness participants as well as youth programs. It may be feasible to acquire space in the area, and we’ve talked about the potential of middle school property which would be available, or constructing a new building on our campus area.
The pool is roughly 40 years old; the youth center 20 years old, “maybe a little older,” Archibald said.
In September, the district embarks on a $120,000 project to resurface, polish and add underwater lighting to the main pool. “We’re excited about it, but also realize the cost and the impact to our regular swimmers,” Archibald said.
The project could keep the pool out of service for about six weeks, he said.
Formed in 1969, the SEPRD boundary follows Seaside School District #10 boundary, excluding Gearhart and Cannon Beach.
“We’re basically a resource available to the entire county,” board of directors chairman Michael Hinton said Monday.
Hinton said the district is looking at the possibility of “some kind of expansion,” either funded through a bond or system development charges — the fees paid by builders to the city for essential infrastructure. “That would give us a means of keeping abreast of urban growth and development,” Hinton said. “It would help set aside money for capital improvements.”
Among a wide variety of programs for all ages, the district offers aquatics, early education, the farmers market and events at the Bob Chisholm Community Center, including Meals on Wheels.
“We’re considering some renovation or development project that would allow us to build or redesign the youth center and basketball court adjacent to the pool to develop a gym or indoor track,” Hinton said.
The board is also keeping an eye on the Seaside School District expansion and possible utilization of former school buildings. “That’s valuable property,” Hinton said.
“The school district will probably need to take every advantage of a potential sale and gain from that to manage expenses,” he said.
Pool programs are drawing visitors from Astoria as a result of their lower cost and facilities. “A lot of them like our city parks, too,” Hinton said, including an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible boat lot on the Wahanna River on the east side of Broadway Park. “Our programs seem to be thriving.”
The district is in the middle of budget discussions, Hinton said. The board is on the same fiscal schedule as the city, with a year end of June 30.
Archibald and Finance Manager Jennifer Stephens presented a preliminary budget at the district’s April board meeting.
“We’re still going through the details,” Hinton said. “We have a major overhaul of our swimming pool. We’re going to shut it down and replace the plaster around the pool.
This shutdown will extend from September to November.
The district’s general fund shows total revenues of $2,794,247 for 2017-18, an increase from last year’s revenues of $2,777,606, almost a 10 percent increase. Along with recreational programs, the district’s special events include the spring egg hunt, Halloween Thriller, the daddy and daughter dance and more. Recreation departments offer softball, basketball, runs, yoga and community outreach, among other programs. The budget is divided in six departments, with the largest being aquatics, including three bodies of water, the main pool, the learner pool and the spa.
District revenues derive from property taxes, grants, timber tax and an ending fund balance, Archibald said.
“We’ve been fortunate to get some sizable grants, some really sizable in the past,” Archibald said. “Today we have some really valuable smaller ones. “They help us kick-start some of the projects we’ve been working on but didn’t have the funds for.”
Of the roughly $1.3 million of non-property tax revenues, the district generates 20 percent in fees from services provided throughout the year. Current and back taxes generate 55 percent, with an ending fund balance at 25 percent.
The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, May 16, at 4 p.m. at the Bob Chisholm Community Center at 1225 Avenue A. The budget committee will meet immediately after the meeting at 5 p.m.
“Hopefully, if we don’t need any further meetings, the budget committee will recommend the budget be adopted by the board, and it will come before the board in June for us to vote on,” he said.
As for future building plans, discussion will begin “depending on how our community feels,” Archibald said. “This is going to need to be a community-driven project. We hope to engage our community and then get the help of some experts to see what’s possible, what’s feasible and what would be the best solution moving forward.”