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Pulling for indoor recreation

A team of Pelican Bay State Prison correctional officers pull against, and defeat, a team of personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Photo courtesy Julianne Leighton
A team of Pelican Bay State Prison correctional officers pull against, and defeat, a team of personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River. Photo courtesy Julianne Leighton
Overall attendance and donations were down  at the third-annual Friends of Brookings-Harbor Aquatic Center Fourth of July Barbecue and Field Day but, overall, organizers said the event was a success.

“I believe the Fourth of July Barbecue and Field Day event was well received again this year,” said Juliane Leighton, FBHAC chair.

At lunch — sponsored by Rays, Shop Smart & Hastings Natural Beef — attendance was good and increased from last year, she said. 

“Everyone raved about the Hastings Natural Beef burgers,” Leighton said. “Folks liked the reusable water bottles we added this year and we were pleased with the opportunity to provide a lasting way to recognize our sponsors and donors as well as promote our organization.

“The kids’ games during lunch, also new this year, were also well received.”

Fewer people participated in the field day compared with previous years, but those who attended enjoyed themselves despite the hot temperatures at the Azalea Park band shell, Leighton said. Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Chetco River came out to defend their Tug o’ War title, but lost it to Pelican Bay State Prison correctional officers.

Another big contest was the pie-eating competition. The winner, who ate the most pie in three minutes, was Travis Rice, who won a custom-made “You had me at Pie!” 2013 FBHAC Championship Pie eating contest T-shirt and a FBHAC ChicoBag.

Winning the Kenmore stainless steel grill donated in part by Sears was won by Bobbie Atay; the iPad mini donated in part by Fred Meyer was won by Melody Wells; the rocking chair donated by Barron’s Home Furnishings was won by Joe Speir.

Leighton said the event raised about $4,500, though they still have some outstanding silent auction items folks are picking up. The goal was $5,000; however, FBHAC now has over $25,000 toward the comprehensive development plan and feasibility study.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to our volunteers who have helped us achieve this,” Leighton said. 

FBHAC’s plans have been to develop a multi-use community recreation center or aquatic center.  

“I believe the ‘aquatic center’ in our name misled people to believe our initial goal was to develop an indoor pool and have since shifted our goal to a multiuse facility,” Leighton said.  “While we believe an aquatic component is vital to any proposed recreation facility, it is important for sustainability to balance it with dry space features and programming.”

Planners have heard from many people who desire basketball, racquetball, dance and gymnastics facilities, a teen room, and an indoor walking track.  

“The only thing that is certain about developing an indoor community recreation and aquatic center in Brookings is that if we don’t try, it won’t happen,” Leighton said. 

In order to move forward and to ensure success, planners must invest in a comprehensive development plan and feasibility study, Leighton said. This study will identify community recreation needs, help planners identify the scope of a recreation and aquatic facility appropriate to meet those needs but reasonable to the community size, investigate a location for the facility, provide insight into features and programs it would offer, give a preliminary design for the building and, most importantly, generate a business operational plan including how many new jobs it will offer, cost to build and funding options. 

“I would encourage anyone who shares in our vision of a community with increased access to year-round recreation by having a multi-use recreation and aquatic center in Brookings to voice their support,” Leighton said. “Let’s explore the possibilities. Let’s make it happen.”

For more information about FBHAC, visit http://www.fbhac.org. 

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