recpark-thumbThe Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District has been on a roll as, in just the last two years, each of the district’s seven parks have been opened or renovated, while upgrades have been made to many of their nine Valley-wide facilities. In a presentation before the City Council of Big Bear Lake last night, Rec and Park’s District Manager Reese Troublefield outlined progress that has been made, and outlined plans for the 14-acre The Ranch Sports Complex in Erwin Lake, set for a grand opening in June. Since 2007, the Recreation and Park District has opened two skateparks, as well as the Teen Center, which services an average of 45 or more middle school students each day. District staff, which includes a maintenance team of 13, have completed renovations to Swim Beach, Sugarloaf Park, Meadow Park, Miller Park, the Meadow Park gym, park district offices, and the parking lot and sidewalk of the Big Bear Senior Center. As Troublefield pointed out, “I think a lot of people don’t know how many facilities we have, and how many programs we oversee.” Those 10-15 concurrent programs include weekly meals for seniors and, coming this summer, free movies on the beach (thanks to a donation from Kiwanis), and concerts at the beach, including Foreigner’s Lou Gramm on Fourth of July; it is hoped that these five concerts will generate up to $30,000, which will allow for the continued operation of the Teen Center, which offers free programming six days a week. As Troublefield noted, “Kids appreciate what you do for them. We’ve only had to clean grafitti once from Sugarloaf Park, and never from the Teen Center.” The Ranch Sports Complex is among the big projects slated for this spring, as 167,000 square feet of sod is being brought in to allow for three regulation-size soccer fields for use by the community; other big projects include ballfield upgrades to both Sugarloaf and Meadow Parks, new play equipment to be installed at Swim Beach, Erwin Lake Park and The Ranch, and a dog park for Sugarloaf. This year will also see the first phase of construction for the new zoo on the North Shore, and progress on Paradise Park, which is being developed on Community Services District land in Bear City, despite the fact that funds from the sale of the former Big Bear City Park are not soon anticipated, since that property is no longer for sale, per the County. “We do have $1 million in Proposition 40 funding,” Troublefield said, “so if we have to start the Paradise Park project with $1 million, we will.” Ongoing projects of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District are discussed at the Advisory Commission meetings, held on the third Tuesday of each month at 5pm at the Senior Center. As Troublefield told Council, “We have a great seven member Advisory Commission.” The public is welcome to attend as, he added, “We’d sure like to get more input.”