Local News

Wednesday, Dec 11 2013 11:30 AM

New Parks Foundation to aid district

To further supplement the long-term viability and sustainability of local parks and recreation programs, members of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District have announced the creation of the Tehachapi Parks Foundation.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization will work together with the district to garner additional resources for its programs through private donations, grants, and fundraising.

The TVRPD, developed in 1958, receives funding primarily through county and city tax assessments, including park development fees. However, according to members from the parks district, public funding alone will not be enough to sustain local parks and recreation programs in the long run.

"The idea for the Foundation was embraced by several board members, and, in a very short amount of time, we were able to collaborate with community leaders to put together a board of directors," TVRPD District Manager Matt Young said. "Our mission and purpose will be to solely serve and assist to bring resources to the parks district."

The foundation will serve to not only gather additional funding, but educate the community on the importance of parks.

On Nov. 25, TVRPD elected members to the foundation's board, which will include Chairperson Gayle Stewart; Vice-Chairperson Laurel Janssen; Secretary Craig Mifflin; Chief Financial Officer Michelle Vance; and Directors Nikki Cummings, Chris Kirk, Zach Skow, Craig Janssen, Paulette Rush, Nick Cyr and Brian Duhart.

Along with the Tehachapi Parks Foundation, members of the TVRPD have announced the creation of two new scholarships, which will allow children and teenagers from low-income families to participate in recreational programs at a discounted price.

The Sylvia "Sandy" Chavez Children's Scholarship was named after the now retired recreation coordinator who was instrumental in developing a number of children's programs, will be geared towards children who are 12 years old and younger.

Also introduced is the Walter A. Dye Teen Scholarship for youth between the ages of 13 and 17, which was created to honor the former TVRPD district manager.

"He was phenomenal with teen programs in the 1960s and 70s," Young said.

Dye Natatorium, Tehachapi's indoor swimming pool, was developed under Dye's direction and later named for him.

Recipients of the scholarships will be awarded on a needs basis, and those who qualify will receive a 50 percent discount on programs hosted by TVRPD.

"We have a message that we want to be inclusive. That means there's something for everyone, regardless of age, creed, color, sex, etc.," Young said.

The district will allocate a certain amount for these scholarships per year, but hopes to receive additional funding through online donations and through the Tehachapi Parks Foundation. Donations can be made online at the TVRPD's website.

Matt Young also noted that TVRPD is making finishing touches on Dye Natatorium Pool, which was shut down earlier this summer after mold was discovered in two areas inside the building. Young expects the pool reopen by Feb. 1.

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