Bayfield Parks and Recreation has growing youth athletic programs, a busy senior center and received a state award this year for Gosney Park.
Challenges the department will face include properly utilizing current facilities and developing a new 23-acre parcel near the Pine River that the Town of Bayfield has purchased from the Bayfield School District.
Scott Key, director of the parks and rec department, gave a status report on his department to Bayfield town trustees on Tuesday, Aug. 16.
The department has received a Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant to develop a master park plan for the town.
The department has a partnership with SunUte Community Center to bring Ignacio kids to come play in the Bayfield soccer and volleyball programs. The Ignacio athletes practice there and come play games on Saturdays in Bayfield.
Soccer is the most popular program, with 150 kids playing a six-week season, including 42 toddlers and preschoolers playing on a "fun team."
"We really do get to provide smiles and happiness," Key said of his employees.
The department oversees the Roadside and Little Pine Parks on U.S. Highway 160; Gosney Park near Bayfield Middle School; Mesa Park on Mesa Avenue; and its two largest parks, Eagle Park and Joe Stephenson Park in downtown Bayfield.
Key and his employees organize several town events through the year, including the Spring Fling and 5K at Easter; the huge Fourth of July event; and Bayfield Old-Fashioned Christmas.
The senior center has fitness classes, potluck lunches, luncheons on Wednesdays and Fridays, games and social activities, and medical and wellness checks in conjunction with the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District.
Parks and Rec works with the following groups, Key said, primarily providing space and logisitical support for events: Pine River Shares, Pine River Youth Baseball, the Bayfield Block Parties and other downtown events, the Bayfield Food Bank at town hall, Bayfield Heritage Days and Sheep Trailing, dog agility trials, Pine River Valley Rotary, SunUte Community Center, Bayfield Farmers Market, and Momentum 24/7 Fitness.
Challenges the Parks and Rec faces include a lot of demands for space; retaining seasonal employees; and the growing popularity of leagues, including the adult programs.
On the parks end, Key said people dumping household trash in the parks trash cans requires a lot of staff time. Also, gophers and voles are active at Joe Stephenson Park, and maintaining current parks vs. adding improvements is a challenge. Old trees in the downtown parks will need to be dealt with at some point, he added.
In Gosney Park, Key is planning to add parking spaces because it is located on a narrow residential street. A picnic table and grill also will be added.
Kelly Polites, a town trustee, says she uses Joe Stephenson Park every day. She asked Key to compliment his staff on how clean they keep the parks, particularly considering the heavy use they receive.
"It's remarkable," he said. Town staff want to use the parks master plan to link the town's trails to those operated by Trails 2000, Bureau of Land Management and the Colorado Land Commission.
"We need to look at our desires, wants and needs," said Town Manager Chris LaMay. If people want more parks and programs, the town will need to decide how to fund it. A recreation district, with boundaries similar to the Bayfield School District, is one possibility, he said.
Key said state severance taxes from oil and gas production are down dramatically, which will limit the amount of Great Outdoors Colorado grants the town could receive in the future.