The 2017 parks and recreation study, presented Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors, recommended the county accept the responsibility and take a central role in recreation. The study pointed to the health benefits of recreation, claiming that people who live near trails exercise more often. It also cited the draw parks and recreation has toward wealthy retirees and the increased value it adds to homes.
"Recreation opportunities also attract tourism," said Justin Sternberg, secretary of the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County. According to Sternberg, nonprofit or other groups currently provide recreation. Those groups have no requirement to patrol their property and have no method like the government does to fund its costs.
County staff said community service districts currently provide recreation opportunities throughout the county. They pointed to two failed recreation-related votes in the 1980s, saying voters already have chosen to use service districts instead of a countywide recreation department.
However, the county in January made recreation a top priority. Officials intend to complete a $15,000 to $25,000 study focused on recreation and the possibility of collaborating or consolidating western Nevada County into a regional parks and recreation operation.
"I'm excited about pursuing this," Supervisor Heidi Hall said, though she noted consolidating efforts would be a challenge. "We've seen two ballot measures rejected. Are we ready to try again?"
For the original article in The Union Newspaper, CLICK HERE.
The Board of Supervisors' written response to the study, CLICK HERE.