Parks and Rec looks to the future

As the COVID-19 pandemic eases in Lincoln City, more folks are taking advantage of Lincoln City Parks and Recreation (LCP&R) programs.

LCP&R director Jeannie Sprague said as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease, her agency is seeing a surge of interest from families and area youth for parks and recreation programs.

“Since we were able to first re-open our parks, open spaces and community center in Sept. 2020 per COVID restrictions, the public interest in Lincoln City recreation has grown immensely,” Sprague said.  “Every few weeks, following State of Oregon guidance, we were able to lift more and more restrictions, and with each step towards normalcy, we gained more participation.”

According to Sprague, the Lincoln City Spring Youth Sports Leagues have filled to capacity, the pool lap swim reservations fill immediately, the RECKids child care program fills, and the city’s trails and parks are heavily utilized.

“The most sought after Parks and Rec programs are youth and adult sports, both leagues and individual gym drop-in, summer camp, aquatics, including lap swim and aqua exercise, and outdoor recreation, such as trails, and playgrounds,” Sprague said. “With Lincoln County now designated as Low Risk level permanently, the focus of LCP&R continues to be supporting our community via recreation, education, social equity and wellness of mind and body.”

Smart operation practices

Sprague said the LCP&R staff have developed smart practices as it navigated through the pandemic by carefully following all COVID-19 restrictions, which included having a complete operations plan in place prior to opening the community center or parks.

“The plan includes, frequent sanitation of public areas, mask wearing, social distancing, correct signage, sanitation stations, etc,” Sprague said. “We’ve received many compliments that our parks and center are the cleanest around! Our staff take great pride in providing the safest recreation opportunities for our community.”

LCP&R is offering summer camps at $115 per week and the center drop-in fees range from $3 per youth to $4 per senior. In July, the agency will have a 10% discount on all annual memberships. For details on availability and how to register, call 541.994.2131, or visit to https://www.lincolncity.org/parksandrec.

Creating joy

Sprague and her staff consistently encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities offered through the LCP&R programs saying the benefits are endless.

“Our business is to create joy, and support the health and well-being of our community. As the needs of our community are ever changing, especially due to the impact of COVID, our new vision is “Moving Forward Together,”’ she said. “LCP&R is being asked by community members to offer more space to be social again – whether that’s participating in an aqua fitness class, having a picnic at Regatta Park, hiking The Knoll, or making a craft in RECKids camp.”

Sprague said LCP&R provides people the opportunity to be physically and mentally fit, socially engaged, less stressed, and better connected to each other and to the environment.

Expansion

As the demand for more programs and space continues, Sprague said LCP&R is looking at several expansion plans, which follow both the 2016 Lincoln City Parks and Rec System Plan and Lincoln City City Council directive.

“We recently purchased six-plus acres from the Lincoln County School District in the Taft area, with the intention of building a multi-use developed park, incorporating public input,” Sprague said. “We are currently installing interpretive map signage in all of our open spaces so visitors can view trail maps along with what they may find in our open spaces.”

Sprague said LCP&R is also starting the first ‘Nature Explorer’ youth program, similar to the NPR Jr Ranger program: children receive a kid-friendly activity map for each open space, and once they complete the activities and hike, and take the Explorer pledge to protect the environment, they get a prize.

“We’re expanding our RECKids camp program to include science activities, swimming, field trips, art, music, sports, guest speakers, and more,” she said. “We are offering a Pickleball Tournament at Dorchester this summer, and our Ocean’s Edge 5k run. Beach Bingo returns, which is a beach clean-up activity you can complete with your friends and family, while winning prizes. We have multiple volunteer trail maintenance parties ready to roll – open to the public. We are ready and excited for summer!”

For more information about the programs offered at LCP&R, call 541-994-2131.

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