Two incumbents, Brian Valdivia and Tess Fitzgerald, hope to retain their seats on the board, while three newcomers, Kim Main, Richard Chatoff and Michael Watson, have thrown their hats in the ring.
Valdivia, a Boulder Creek native and president of the board, was elected in 2008 and said he was proud of recent board accomplishments
Those include, he said, keeping the parks looking beautiful; hiring a district manager, Hallie Green, who has added to the district’s revenue through increased programming; and completing the renovation of Garrahan Park.
“We were able to do it because we have a cooperative board and a great manager,” Valdivia said.
Valdivia, who has two preschool-aged sons, said he looked forward to a new or remodeled recreation facility, because the existing recreation hall is too small to accommodate requests from the community.
“It is definitely smaller than we would like,” he said.
Whether the hall remains behind the fire department or a new hall is built somewhere else, Valdivia said it was important to look forward, because the project could take a decade to complete.
He also said he hoped the district would start an outdoor science program soon.
Valdivia is running on a ticket with Fitzgerald and Main.
Fitzgerald, an incumbent, has worked as clerk of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors since 2007.
She was appointed to the Boulder Creek Recreation board twice, in 2006 and 2010, to each time to serve two-year partial terms.
Fitzgerald is proud of the district’s growing presence in the community in the past year and said she is on the lookout to build another park.
“The community wants a community garden and a place to run their dogs,” Fitzgerald said.
She also said the board is looking for a site for a future recreation hall to replace the existing facility. She’s proud that the district has saved money for that goal and has about $532,000 that could be used for a new building.
Fitzgerald also expressed pride in her efforts to straighten out the district’s administrative paperwork and push for transparency by posting meaningful agenda items on the district’s website.
She said she would like to offer more programs for seniors.
Fitzgerald added that she thought the district’s role was to serve the community with activities and facilities.
“Rec districts should be seen and not heard,” she said.
Fitzgerald is running on a ticket with Valdivia and Main.
Chatoff, a father of two boys who works in shipping and receiving for IBM, disagrees with the present board’s philosophy of saving for a new recreation facility without, he said, showing growth that would warrant a new facility.
“They want to keep shoving money away to purchase property,” Chatoff said. “You need money to support that facility.”
He said he had attended every board meeting since word went out more than two years ago that the district had plans to purchase four lots near Highway 9 and Grove Street to build a new recreation hall.
The deal fell through because the district was not granted the money by the state, despite a submitting two lengthy applications.
“You need to demonstrate an interest from the community,” Chatoff said. “I’m definitely for a rec center if it’s feasible. I don’t want to buy a big piece of land just because.”
He cautioned that purchasing land for a new recreation center without proper demand could lead to a situation similar to that of Redwood Elementary School, which merged with Boulder Creek Elementary in 2003 because the student population shrank, leaving the campus empty.
The candidate said he was happy with the growth of district programs, but he wanted to add more, especially for boys in the 8- to 18-year-old range.
“What’s working is great,” he said, “(but) there’s room to expand it.”
Chatoff said he also hoped to see programs promoting positive life skills. He said he would push for a new community survey to help the district understand the needs of local families and individuals.
Main, who has a 10-year-old daughter and two grown stepsons, is running for the board for the first time.
Among her volunteer work, she served as moderator of the Boulder Creek Family Network Yahoo Group for two years. The grassroots group has more than 300 members and shares news about events, crimes, fundraisers and other topics on a daily basis.
She also volunteers at Boulder Creek Branch Library, Boulder Creek Elementary School and the rec center.
Main has been an active user of the recreation district, taking jazzercise classes at the recreation hall, and her daughter has also participated in district programs.
Her family helped revitalize Junction Park, and Main is working with board member Diane Hamilton to build exercise equipment at Garrahan Park.
Main supports the enhancement of Garrahan Park and believes a new recreation center should be constructed to provide space for classes, entertainment and child care.
“It would be great for the community to have its own center,” Main said. “It’s not an overnight process. It takes a lot of vision and planning.”
Main said she hoped the Miller Property off Kings Creek Road, owned by Santa Cruz County, could be used for recreational purposes like hiking.
Main also said the Redwood Elementary School campus could be used more for district activities.
She is running on a ticket with Fitzgerald and Valdivia.
Watson, a lifelong resident of Boulder Creek, hopes the district will host more events that attract people from outside the town.
Watson fondly remembers the Boulder Creek Art and Wine festival, which was canceled in 2010, and said he would like to host a car show in town.
“I think it would target a bigger community base,” said Watson, who is studying business at West Valley Community College.
The candidate said he remembered playing hockey and basketball at the YMCA when he was younger, and thinks the district should offer activities targeted to people in their 20s and 30s.
He said he hoped to promote living a healthy lifestyle through the district’s programs.
Watson said he had noticed in the past year that the district was advertising its activities more often, and he hoped that trend would continue.
While admitting to inexperience in dealing with budgets of public agencies, Watson said he was motivated to get involved by his volunteer work at the Elm Street Mission serving soup with Boulder Creek Community Church.
“I really want to help out the community,” Watson said. “If I can make the community better, that would be a great achievement for me.”
On the subject of a new recreation center, he said it was a hard situation to figure out, but he would go to people in the community to find out if it’s something they want.
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