There are those who will read our page one story about budget challenges faced by the Eastern Weston County Recreation District that will immediately assume that the problem is the result of the increased expense associated with the creation of a new position— Community Recreation Director— a year ago, but we would argue instead that the current financial difficulties make it even more apparent that the position is vitally important to meeting the community’s recreation needs in the future.
The recreation district has long been responsible for providing much of the operational funding for Kozisek Aquatic Center, but as the community’s demands for more recreation opportunities became more persistent over the past decade or so, it became readily apparent that the district (and the City of Newcastle’s own recreation board) were going to have to find ways to do more with less.
The recreation director position was created through a partnership between the city and school district’s rec boards partly because of a desire on the part of many community members to construct a recreation center here. A number of community decision makers feared that the operation and maintenance of such a facility would prove too expensive— even if money could be found to build a recreation center— and the recent energy bust has proven those concerns to be valid.
As you look through the pages of this newspaper, you will see the wealth of recreation opportunities that were offered to residents over the past weekend, and it makes it hard to believe that this community doesn’t already possess all of the parks, facilities and other recreation infrastructure we really need to enjoy an active and entertaining existence here.
But with funds running short, we will have to be even more creative if we hope to continue offering all of these opportunities, and the number of volunteers willing to donate time and expertise to such activities will have to increase.
The Community Recreation Director will be responsible for organizing such an effort moving forward, and we encourage all of you to support her by offering your time and talents to ensure that the facilities we do have— and the activities we enjoy— will continue to be available.