Friday, June 21, 2019 | Seaside Signal | SeasideSignal.com • A7 Sunset Rec turns 50! The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District was established for the purpose of providing the ﬁ rst public pool for the Seaside community. The pool oﬃ cially opened Sept. 28, 1977. Now, it is the site of numerous ﬁ tness classes, open swim sessions, and other community activities. TOP Broadway Middle School students participate in an activity at the Sunset Pool in May. COUNTERCLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT A child enjoys preschool in a 2015 class. Bowling in Broadway Park, 2014. Campers at Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Summer Camp in 2015. The Daddy-Daughter Dance has become a signature event for the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. The second family triathlon will be held Saturday, June 22, followed by the district’s 50th birthday celebration, which will take place across several sites owned and managed by the district. Rec district to mark birthday with family triathlon, barbecue, more By KATHERINE LACAZE For Seaside Signal At 50 years old, the Sun- set Empire Park and Recre- ation District is one of the earliest of its kind in the state of Oregon. During the past ﬁ ve decades, the district has evolved signiﬁ cantly from its original purpose of pro- viding a public pool to offer- ing an expanding suite of services and programs for the community. The accomplishments of the district — and the peo- ple who made them possi- ble — will be celebrated this weekend during a commu- nitywide event featuring a variety of activities. “We feel like this is a really awesome milestone for our district,” Executive Director Skyler Archibald said. To kick off the day, attendees can participate in the district’s second annual Family Triathlon starting at 9 a.m., although preregis- tration is required by Friday, June 21. At 11:30, the dis- trict will host the birthday celebration and a free barbe- cue. During lunch, staff will recognize a number of peo- ple, including past directors and board members, whose leadership was integral to the district’s establishment and sustainability. Families can then choose to attend a free Zumba class at noon, go to open swim at the pool from 1 to 3 p.m., and participate in a scaven- ger hunt across the district’s facilities. Ice cream will be served in the pool lobby around 3. Also during the day, the district’s facilities will be open and free for use. Archibald said they are looking forward to com- munity members coming out and being recognized for their part in supporting the district, but also touring “around to see what the dis- trict is able to provide that maybe they didn’t realize.” The SEPRD Legacy Starting in 1965, a group of community members began devoting efforts to build a community pool and gathering funds from the PTA, baked food sales, and private donors. When it became clear more fund- ing was needed, the commu- nity decided to form a spe- cial district. The vote took place in the fall of 1968, and the district’s formation was approved by a slim margin, Archibald. The measure, however, set the permanent tax to fund the district at $0.92 per $1,000 assessed property value, which has “allowed us to be stable through that 50 years,” he added. City-owned parks and recreation departments often have to vie for fund- ing with other departments and important services and can be a low priority com- pared to public utilities, emergency services, and law enforcement. The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District has been fortunate not to be in a similar situa- tion, Archibald said. Rather, having a consistent funding source has enabled the dis- trict to be forward-thinking in terms of serving the com- munity and eying progress. “As the community has grown and property values have increased, we’ve been able to do more and more,” Archibald said. The district was ofﬁ cially formed Feb. 14, 1969, and the boundaries were similar to what they are today. They mimic the Seaside School District’s, excluding the incorporated cities of Gear- hart and Cannon beach. The following few years were spent securing other levies to build the pool, hir- ing an architectural ﬁ rm, and selecting the existing site near Broadway Park after public hearings and discus- sions with the City of Sea- side and school district. On Sept. 28, 1977, Sunset Pool opened to the public. Other momentous occa- sions in the district’s history include taking over manage- ment of the Bob Chisholm Community Center for the city and having access to more program space; estab- lishing the Seaside Youth Center; and opening Broad- way Field in 2011. “Our staff is just really grateful to continue to leg- acy that we have and to honor our community by providing the programs that we do,” Archibald said. A vision for the future Looking forward, the dis- trict plans to update its stra- tegic plan when incoming board members Lindsey Morrison and John Chap- man join in July. They will serve alongside current board members Veronica Russell, Jeremy Mills, and Michael Hinton. Together, they will determine what the board’s new priorities will be for the next several years. The previous board and district staff agreed they need to add more indoor recreation space. If they can accomplish that in the next few years, Archibald believes that will be another seminal moment in the district’s history. “The district is underserv- ing our population because we don’t have enough indoor space to meet the needs of our community to give them healthy and safe places to play and to move and to be active year-round,” he said. “I’m not sure how we’ll do it, but I know it will still be a priority.” For more information about the district’s 50th Birthday Celebration activ- ities and itinerary, call 503- 738-3311 or visit sunsetem- pire.com. Want a fresh new look for summer? Call your local, neighborhood experts! We’re Budget Blinds, and we’re North America’s #1 provider of custom window coverings. We do it all for you; design, measure and install — because we think everyone, at every budget, deserves style, service, and the peace-of-mind of the best warranty in the business. Call now for your free in-home consultation! 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